I planned on this post being about the ‘stuff’ that won’t be making the 1400km journey to our new home. That list, if you’re curious, included my car, our mattress, my desk, a bookshelf and $500 worth of miscellany that I sold. However, when I started writing, I took a turn down nostalgia lane and realized something about memory and ‘stuff’. I hope you enjoy it!
Last Friday, after I got home from my local grocer, bags in hand, I had a realization.
This was the last Friday I was going to spend in our small town.
What a weird feeling.
Our two years in this small town have been a mixed experience. We both went through two less than ideal jobs and, because we moved into town not knowing anyone, we basically (actually) had zero social life. On the positive side, we had a lovely apartment, many outdoor adventures and the quiet day-to-day life that often accompanies a small town.
I’m actually pretty apprehensive of moving to a big city (again). It’s been two years since we lived in an urban center and I’ve kind of come to love the quietness and slow pace of our town, even despite its faults (like the lack of any decent restaurants). I’ll definitely miss being able to walk down the middle of the road after 6 pm because the whole town is basically deserted. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to having access to a range of culinary delights (especially and almost entirely, ramen), and being walking distance to almost anything I could need. Gosh, I really do miss being able to walk to do our errands.
As you have probably guessed by now, I can be quite a sentimental person sometimes. However, I’m trying not to let my emotional self get the better of me this time. Nostalgia can be a tricky thing. It can be a useful tool to help us remember our past, but, if we’re not careful, it can also be a distorted view.
Real Life is Messy
Sure, it would be nice to imagine that the last two years have been a wonderful adventure with no turbulence. But that isn’t real life. In fact, the last two years were filled with significant turmoil on my part (I’ve been dealing with anxiety, depression and some other chronic health issues for the last couple of years and it peaked about a year ago). Mr. Tiny Ambitions and I both had less than ideal jobs that led us to question if grad school was worth the time and money (obviously it was, or else we wouldn’t have met!).
This is where I think memories can be a little misleading. I don’t know about you, but I tend to remember the ‘bad’ as worse than it really was, and forget how truly awesome the ‘good’ was. Maybe it’s an evolutionary thing. It may be beneficial to remember the negative more vividly, as a protection mechanism, to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes twice. Like, wandering into a sabertooth tiger’s den late at night. I might be getting a little off topic. (Who says an anthropology degree doesn’t pay off??)
Real Life is Also Beautiful
Of course, this is only half the picture. This small town also represents the first place Mr. TA and I ever lived together, and for that reason, I shall always remember it. I’ll remember the late night walks by the water we used to take (if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen dozens of these walks). I’ll also remember the small gems we discovered along the way. Like the bakery that makes the most amazing donuts that became a part of our Saturday morning routine. Or the truly mind-blowing hole-in-the-wall Mexican place we discovered, by chance, one lazy Sunday afternoon.
Despite being a self-proclaimed introvert, a few people in our town have also stood out over the last two years. At our post office, the clerk (Kevin), learned my name after seeing me come in nearly every day. He even asked about our move once he saw our mail forwarding request come in! Thanks, Kevin, for giving this awkward human a reason to look forward to checking our mail every day!
I’m also grateful for our landlords. They are two of the nicest, good-natured people I’ve ever met. Every time we crossed paths, they gave me hope in the human race. I will genuinely miss them.
Leaving With Memories
With the exception of the apartment we shared, the ‘things’ I will remember most about this small town aren’t ‘things’ at all. But, I’m sure you could have guessed that (if my birthday post from a couple weeks ago proved anything, it’s that you guys are a bunch of smart cookies!). In fact, I can’t think of a single ‘thing’ that I’ll remember as being fundamental or defining of our lives in the last two years. I honestly can’t.
Maybe that’s the takeaway from this week.When you reminisce in fifteen years, it won't be about the 'things' you had in your life. Click To Tweet
Because, as we all know by now, ‘things’ are not the things that matter.
So that’s it. A two-year chapter of our lives is coming to a close. What an interesting, messy, lovely chapter it has been. I can’t wait to start the next one!
We’ll officially end our time in Southern Ontario (for now) on Friday when we start the 16-hour (aka two day) journey to the north of our big, beautiful province. Will we be able to fit all of our stuff in a 10-foot Uhaul truck? Gosh, I sure hope so.
Do you have a defining memory of the last two years of your life? Are you starting a new phase of your life soon? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!
Image Credit: Tiny Ambitions