Packing/ Unpacking

My hands were covered in newspaper ink, and my life was packed in boxes.

I was probably somewhere between wondering how I ended up with so many cups and tripping over the pile of legal pads I’d filled during my internship at The Kansas City Star. The living room my roommates and I had shared was quickly being overtaken by cardboard.

This was it.

For weeks, I’d been feeding my roommates, friends and coworkers with a pretty much constant stream of updates about my plans to move for my new job. I’d hunted down an apartment, figured out a lot of crazy logistics and corralled people into helping make sure my massive amount of stuff would get from point A to point B.

But when I looked at the smudges on my hands and the lines of boxes near the couch, it all finally felt real.

***

I pulled the U-Haul up next to the apartment complex and started unloading. This was my second time driving all my belongings across Missouri this summer. It was also the last.

A few months ago, I talked about my immediate future with a high level of uncertainty, always trying to conjecture what might happen “when I get to where I’m going.” And now, I was there.

After a whirlwind of hauling everything inside and up a flight of stairs (I’m forever indebted to all the people who helped me make that happen), I found myself disassembling the boxes I’d so carefully packed just a few days earlier, scattering the newspaper across the floor and discovering a lot of things I didn’t know I owned in the first place.

Over the course of a couple of warm August days, I unpacked. I sorted and organized and put things away. I cleaned out boxes that hadn’t been opened in years. I spent more time at Walmart than I care to admit because it turns out that I had virtually no cooking supplies.

The mess of boxes slowly turned into a furnished apartment. And as I pulled yet another bath towel out of yet another box (how did I end up with so many bath towels, but no mixing bowls?), I felt more clearly the sense of arrival that had started to set in as I’d packed a few days before.

Because when I’m feeling excessively philosophical, I realize I’ve been preparing for these moments for a long time. And they are new and wonderful and terrifying and exhilarating all at once.

Someone I trust once told me to look at this new stage of life as my next adventure. Because really, that’s what it is. And wherever it takes me, I’m along for the ride, going all in every step of the way.

This is it.

***

Also, just for consistency’s sake, a last update on my work related to The Star:

I helped cover a presidential speech! Yes, this does, in fact, merit an exclamation mark. I was in charge of tweeting before and during the talk, gathering scene and color and conveying what the president had to say. As a young journalist, it was one of the cooler opportunities I’ve had so far in my career.

Here’s what I contributed to from that event: Updates from Obama’s speech in Kansas City, In Kansas City, President Obama urges opponents to stop ‘hating all the time’, The people react to the Obama speech, President Obama tackles economy, cynicism in Kansas City speech

And other stories I wrote or contributed to in my last few weeks at The Star: Could plan to offer financial services save Postal Service? (contributing line), Wall to honor 1,000 Jackson County leaders is proposed, Amendment 5: Proposal aims to strengthen Missouri’s gun rights, What’s bugging Missouri and Kansas? Scientists on the watch for invasive pests, It’s time to water the lawn — finally
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