We’ve spent the past few weeks packing. We’re moving from Surf City, North Carolina back home to Washington, D.C.
It’s not just a change of location, it’s a change of mindset, from the structure of the military to the great unknown of life as an entrepreneur, from the slow pace of the rural south to the energy of a major city.
It’s always a hassle boxing up your things, although we’ve grown fairly good at it over the years. We both tend to use these moves as a chance to pare down our belongings. Everything gets evaluated before it gets packed. Is this a worthwhile memento? Will it be useful in the future? What’s the replacement cost?
Admittedly, it can be difficult to part with something that’s been with you for a long time, even though you know that it’s no longer worth keeping. We help ourselves by ridiculing each other mercilessly. Things that don’t make the cut get discarded.
Michael gets rid of stuff aggressively. Harrison takes a bit longer. We aren’t minimalists, it’s just that we prefer to own a few quality things and keep them for a long time. The other stuff—the “life clutter” which acts like an anchor—has been ending up on Craig’s List, Ebay, or in pawn shops around the area. At least then you can hopefully find someone who can use what you no longer need.
But while it’s possible to box up our things, it isn’t possible to box up our lives, and returning to DC feels a bit daunting. We’ve been removed from it for so long. We’ve been focused on things which are so foreign to most of our old friends. And our interests have changed dramatically these past few years.
Explaining the divide is difficult.
Our confusion is complicated by the fact that while we loved the Marine Corps, we also disagreed with some of the things going on in the organization, and we were vocal about trying to change them. So the identity that comes with the saying “once a Marine, always a Marine” feels somewhat uncomfortable. We spoke up, and we weren’t exactly popular for it.
We’re still faithful to the Marines and to the ideals, but reconciling our expectations with the reality isn’t a simple process.
It’s going to take time. We realize that. But this is where we are today.