Defined by Cardboard Boxes and Leather-Bound Notebooks

I hate packing.

You’d think that someone who loves organizing and traveling as much as I do would enjoy this activity. Don’t get me wrong, packing for short trips is fine because one need only stress over a duffle bag for a week’s worth of stuff. However, packing for long-term trips, such as moving out of a dorm for the summer, drives me crazy. Being forced to fit my life into four cardboard boxes always felt insulting, and I loathed having to decide which parts of my life were necessary and which were disposable. Several times during college I had even considered posting on LiveJournal, with an offer of $20 to anyone who could please pack my belongings. I always backed out of that ridiculous plan, usually because I wasn’t really willing to sacrifice $20 when I could be using it on more important things, e.g. happy hour at Grüner, dessert at Veritable Quandary, ten macarons from Pix. Nevertheless, I would procrastinate until the very last minute and feel miserable every second of the way.

The main reason I find packing so unpleasant is because I despise that feeling of eviction. Removing my carefully-hung wall décor and pulling the books off my shelf were sad, sad processes. However, unpacking is another story. Unpacking means you have a home, and your goal now is to settle in.

This is perhaps the first time that I’m somewhat excited to pack. Maybe because this is my first permanent move. Or maybe simply because I’m moving to New York. As I go through the items I plan to stuff into my three pieces of luggage, I notice that the majority is just clothing. Is that really all I’ve become – piles of wool, cotton, and silk? Besides clothing and shoes (which, I’m embarrassed to say, do take up quite a lot of room — blame the heels), I’m only bringing my laptop and speakers, my three most recent journals, and my five favorite books: Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, 1984, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and Notes from Underground. (Is it weird that three out of my five favorite books are about trapped women? I guess my thirteen years at an all girls’ school and being constantly inundated by feminism have had greater effects on my taste than I thought!)

The most valuable items in my luggage are obviously my three most recent journals — one black softcover Moleskine, one red hardcover Moleskine, and one green Ecosystem (a recycled-paper, Made-in-the-USA Moleskine knockoff). Filled with barely legible handwriting (except for the first few entries, which, of course, were written in impeccably neat handwriting) in varying shades of black ink, these journals contain my incoherent thoughts and events of daily life.

The real reason I write in journals is because my memory is pretty bad. Without them, I’d have a much more difficult time remembering all the happy events throughout my life. And in the end, isn’t life merely a collection of the experiences we choose to remember? If you look at my journals, you’ll notice that my favorite days are described in meticulous detail, usually amounting to multiple pages, while my least favorite days are terse and begin with “Shitty day” or “Well, today sucked,” to warn my future self that reading this entry may conjure up unpleasant memories.

I’m not sure how unique my painstakingly-conscious construction of memory (and thus life itself) is. I figure we all do this to different extents, but I know I’ve always been a little too self-aware for my own good.

I have one more week in Hawaii, which means three more weeks until New York! I look forward to writing more tediously long entries in my journal.

This random photo is here to prove that I was able to fit everything into an awkward yellow backpack when Anthony and I island hopped to the Big Island for his birthday weekend a few months ago. Sometimes I find packing fun! (I promise my photos will stop being so irrelevant once I get on the plane.)

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