In the months leading up to our moves, I spend a lot of time dwelling on…dwellings. I download rental property apps and search, and re-search, and then analyze the homes that I find. Too big! Two small! Is that wall really chartreuse? Is the neighborhood really that nice or did Google street view just catch them on a good day? Will our couch fit along that wall? How can there only be four cupboards in that kitchen? I edit my ‘favorites’ lists depending on my ever-changing must-haves and suffer tiny heartbreaks when my dream homes disappear, the keys given to some other family.
It’s an obsession that I can’t quite stop and I know it’s futile since we won’t even contact properties until a month before we leave. In my mind’s eye I place our belongings in these homes, organize our lives, and settle in. We haven’t packed a single box yet but I’ve already moved into a hundred houses.
I torture myself in this way for two reasons, I’ve realized. The first is hope. It’s fun to think of a different life in a different place. In my mind, in whatever home I’m looking at, I’m a better version of myself. Magically more organized with better decorating skills and a knack for DIY. My imagination also lets me have a new wardrobe and my email has achieved Inbox Zero. Whether it’s all possible or not doesn’t matter, I have Pinterest boards full of possibility (and an alarming number of mason jar craft ideas).
The second thing is control. It’s a weird feeling not knowing what my address will be in three months. I’d like to play the cool ‘I just live the life of a nomad’ card, but I’m too high strung, let’s be real. Every time I save a home a small part of me thinks that one is The One. Good. I found it. That’s over! It’s a lie I tell myself that gives me a sense of peace and eases my worry.
Having done all this before, I know it will all work out. We’ve always had a roof over our heads upon arrival, even if it means living in a hotel for a month. We’ll find a house and make a home. The couch will fit. I’ll grow fond of the chartreuse wall. The neighborhood really will be nice. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my hundred houses and let my imagination unpack boxes.