Even Good Change Can Be Hard

A few days ago we packed up the old place, packed up the roof garden and all of my plants, and moved. It was hell. A special thanks to friends who helped us get the remaining vestiges of our stuff out. That was no small feat and I am super, super grateful.

As of right now we are living in the midst of chaos. Piles of boxes lay everywhere. We can’t find anything, although I did find the kettle yesterday! Baby steps and small victories. I’m calling this stage the Where is Everything? Phase. The basement is like a set from the television show Hoarders. Regardless, for the first time in my adult life I have a basement. Hooray for a place to throw the stuff I can’t deal with right now and the location of my future seed-starting set-up!

This morning I woke up from a bad dream. In it, I had gone back to the old place to visit a neighbour and there was a television crew out on the roof giving it an extremely fancy, bourgeoisie makeover. In typical dream-like fashion everything was twisted. So while I should have had direct access to the roof, in the dream I couldn’t get anywhere near it to ask what was going on. And as I walked around looking for ways to gain access, it only got further and further away. The next thing I knew I was lugging my bike around heavy security lines and the makeover wasn’t just my old roof but the whole neighbourhood.

As the size of the production grew, so did my anxiety level. I was becoming a frantic person running around muttering aloud, “That used to be my garden. What are they doing to my garden?”

Finally, I found someone who would tell me what was happening. They were filming a makeover show, but they were also super fancifying the space to be a meeting place for a Catholic Bishop that was coming to town. Huh? All I can say for that portion is that last night was Halloween and one of the movies I watched (John Carpenter’s “Vampires”) must have melded with my dream.

Needless to say, I am beginning to suffer some emotional fallout from that tornado-like move. It was fast and furious, leaving me with a sense of displacement and some vestiges of separation anxiety from my old and familiar garden. And yet, I am also very excited to be embarking on gardening in a brand new location with a new set of positives and challenges to maneuver within.

Onward and upward.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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15 thoughts on “Even Good Change Can Be Hard

  1. Moving is so painful… not only is it a lot of work but it takes forever to feel cemented in your life again (perhaps that is a good thing, who knows). As a child/young adult it was never this hard – says she who was in 13 different school before she hit college/university – what is it about aging that makes us grow more and more inflexible? I think we just like what we have and don’t want to disrupt it even though rationally we can tell ourselves that everything will be the same or even better… sigh, far too deep throughs from the West Coast where the sun is having a hard time even rising this morning!

  2. It’s HARD to leave a garden, even when a new better one is in the future. I have a new better one, but still miss my old garden at times, and it’s been 6 years! They are such a labor of love.

  3. I completely understand. We had a great garden at our last apartment. We lived there for years and I knew the soil like I know my mother :)
    I love my new house but I’m still mourning that old garden, I think because we left under duress.

  4. i agree about change. magnitude and direction are crucial to how effortlessly change can occur. really happy for your new opportunities though. I am sure you will blog about it to keep us posted

  5. As others have said, moving is hard. Every time I think about it, I shudder. Yet, the balcony seems to get smaller every year.

    I hope you will feel settled soon. I love the attitude and philosophy behind your last sentence.

  6. Moving sucks, no two ways about it. I’ve had 13 residences in the 21 years since moving away from home (plus several short-term landing pads) and have a hard time feeling truly “at home” anywhere besides my mother’s house.
    Your new place sounds perefect for you and I wish you a speedy transition to feeling at home there.

  7. What! A bad dream without rodents? What can this mean?
    Let’s have coffee in the old neighbourhood soon.

  8. I’m not a fan of the dreams that make you feel a huge rush of relief that you were “just dreaming” like the one you’ve described. There has to be some study that proves anxiety is heightened x1000 while dreaming somewhere.

    Keep reading design books, magazines, and websites and feeling happy and inspired to settle into your new home. A winter of nesting, then spring in the garden (ur, amid the flurry of writing and responsibilities)! Hang in there!

  9. I can relate – I moved this summer to a new home, leaving behind a garden I had worked for 10 years on. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to bring all of my perennials with me because the new yard was too small….part of my downsizing efforts. The first time I drove past my old home I nearly cried. My front perennial bed had been decimated as they dug it up to put a window in the basement. I understand the need for the light but really! The next time it was the daylily bed and several trees. At this point, it no longer looks like my home and garden anymore as very little was spared. In some ways I’m glad it doesn’t look the same because I no longer want to live there but on the other hand it is sad to see so much work go down the drain so quickly.
    Enjoy planning your new garden (and unpacking too, lol!)

  10. My plants always suffer casualties when I move, and I only have two dozen or so. I’ve watched your garden grow since the beginning of the website, and I’ll admit I was scared for you when I heard you were moving! I’m glad to hear you are surviving, and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what you do with your new yard!

  11. The emotional need to go back there, though even in the dream you didn’t allow it! Dream shows the terror of letting go of the familiar space/routine, even though the move you made will bring only good and positive things.
    Can’t wait to see pics of that NEW garden and your new “palace”!

  12. Now that our kids are grown and gone, we sometimes toy with the idea of moving to a smaller house with a bigger yard, or some actual land, even. But even though my in-town garden is getting more crowded every year, and the maintenance on this old house is exhausting, I can’t imagine leaving my fish pond, my old brick courtyard or my herb bed. I tried moving most of a garden once, and my sons, our moving helpers, threatened a mutiny.

  13. Sorry to read your move was so traumatic, still the worst is over and you can now look forward to building your new home and garden, and when the hard work is done you can sit in the new garden and take in all its calm and peace good luck for the future.

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