We’ve spent the past few weeks here organizing our lives in Shanghai, in an effort to move our bodies, hearts and minds to Singapore. As with any big change, it’s caused me to pause and reflect (or that’s just what happens when you’re living in a nearly empty apartment). I’m not sure anything below will truly move you but just a few things I’ve learned from this move.
1. Despite how I may sometimes feel, I am really not a hoarder.
2. Toddlers have zero concept of time. What they better understand is that their toys are taking a boat. We are taking a plane. We will all end up in a place with a pool on a day that is not today. We are calling this place Singapore. We are calling the day July 2. (Repeat every five minutes until we arrive.)
3. I should’ve gotten into the toy industry. I think you can pretty much sell anything with lights, sound, and on wheels. Kids only end up playing with a quarter of what they have, but will throw a fit if you even suggest getting rid of the other 3/4 of their stuff. Most toys are useless and when they are gone, you realize kids don’t really need them. And yet, they accumulate them at an alarming rate. Even if you make a mediocre product, kids will want it, parents will buy it. It’s a win-win industry.
4. There isn’t too much in the world that is so unique that you can only find it in one place. I realized all their socks are on a boat headed to Singapore, not scheduled to arrive for 4 weeks. We can get new.
5. Anything that is super special deserves to be kept close to you. Otherwise, it’s probably not as special as you have deemed it to be.
6. Anyone who is super special will be with you wherever you go. Even if it’s not possible physically.
7. Moving is good. I’m no doctor but I think it’s been proven time and again that physical movement is good. And I’m no psychiatrist, but I would argue the mental movement that results from changing your surroundings, is equally good. I like routine as much as the next person, but changing it is important. It’s refreshing and allows you to clearly see ways in which you were stuck.
8. When you watch your life get boxed up by a team of hardworking and fast movers, you suddenly realize how little you really need to live a good, happy, productive and fulfilling life. And then it becomes very easy to understand what’s necessary, what’s nice to have, what you don’t need and what you really need to get rid of.
9. Despite how well wrapped you think your stuff is, and how many times you can write “fragile” on a box, you’re stuff will not be handled gently once it leaves your sight. I know this because when you don’t have toys (see #3), part of your toddler entertainment becomes anything that makes them stop and stare. We spent a good 20 minutes watching movers pushing stacks of boxes (not ours) up a lift, onto a truck. After watching (more than a couple) towers of boxes come crashing down, with nary an “oops” uttered by any of the professionals while we were not five feet from the lobby, it suddenly seemed as if this would be the softest part of the journey.
10. A good partner in life is second to none. And there is nothing like an international move with two toddlers to reaffirm you’ve picked your partner well. If you can find the ying to your yang, someone who compliments your weaknesses with their strengths, makes your life easier and more fun, someone who can make you laugh when you’re sure might cry and make you cry with a surprisingly thoughtful word – then you know that wherever and however you move, you’ll never be lost.