I am in the midst of doing something I haven't done for a very long time. I'm moving. Not just my home but my studio as well. It's a daunting process, to say the least. As I said to one of the valued friends helping me through it, I feel like I'm dismantling my life piece by piece.
My house, where my studio takes up a good portion of the downstairs floor, has been my home for nearly 25 years. It's seen a lot of laughter and very good times as well as some heartbreakingly bad ones. It's where I've lived and made my living, where I've shared my life with loved ones now departed. It's where many cherished memories were made - memories that are prized above the possessions I will carry with me from this house. I came to love this place well, with its quiet neighbourhood of good people, its serene garden, and its bright rooms. My art practise flourished here.
Now it's time for the house to become home for another family.
My new home where I will soon be reconstructing my life is a row-house style townhome. My new studio - my highest priority when house-hunting - is a sunny space with its own entrance that's accessed through a small garden. There are many green spaces and walking trails in this more-urban neighbourhood for Lily and I to explore, and a cat-friendly second story balcony. I expect this home will serve me well too, that many new memories will be made there, and that good times will happen within its walls. Art will be created and workshops will be delivered. And while there will doubtless be bad times too, I can only hope they don't come for a long, long while.
Moving from a big, roomy house to a space less than half the size requires significant "streamlining" (a word I much prefer to "downsizing"). The collection of stuff that has accumulated after more than two decades in one place demands heavy editing. Only some of it will make the cut - the furniture that will function best in a smaller space, the mementos that are most significant. However, the contents of one room is more-or-less unscathed: my studio. It will be packed, moved, and set up basically in its entirety and hopefully that will be accomplished fairly quickly. After all, I have my priorities! I am looking forward to getting back to work at my drawing table once again.
In the mean time I will continue taking apart the life that was built in this house. Much stuff will be given away, some sold, a yard sale will account for more, and the remainder will be donated to charity. In the end I will carry with me only what I need to form the foundation of a renewed life in a different place.
There's an art to this process of deciding what stays and what goes, what's kept and what's discarded. For the most part I find that among all the stuff I'm sorting through there are few things for which I have very strong attachments. The truly important things - the relationships that were formed and cemented here and the memories I will always cherish - don't require packing.