The neighborhood was nice. It was open and airy and I had a nice view of trees, blue sky and puffy clouds. Except on rainy days, on which I had a view of gray sky and rain. On the ledge of the window through which I viewed the weather sat a plush bamboo plant. When my eyes grew weary of my computer screen, I could gaze at the plant or the scenery just beyond it.
My neighbors were extremely friendly. On most days, a plate of cookies or pan of brownies was shared among the residents. Someone was always bringing by samples of something they’d baked or picked up at the store ‘just because.’
The neighborhood had its perks. But it also had its downside. Most residents were young and, well, boisterous. Energetic conversations, lots of giggles and laughter, and music of all kinds could be heard at all hours.
As the neighborhood filled to capacity, it became increasingly difficult for me to concentrate and be productive. And when my responsibilities changed and increased, it became obvious that a move was warranted.
I visited several nearby neighborhoods. None of the available properties had the view to which I’d become accustomed. But each was quieter and less congested. Of course, they wouldn’t be as fun, but at least I’d be able to concentrate and focus.
One neighborhood was very quiet and shady. It was convenient to lots of amenities, including parking. Unfortunately, it was near a public gathering place. When people gathered, the noise levels exceeded that of my old neighborhood.
My second option was a bit more populated, but still relatively quiet. It was a neighborhood I already frequented, as I worked closely with many of the residents. Amenities weren’t that much farther away, plus each property afforded a bit more square footage with the possibility for expansion.
Of course, I went with the second option. It was not too far from my old neighborhood, so I’d be able to regularly visit my old friends. Also, the setup was not all that different from my old place, making arranging my things once I moved a simple task.
When moving day finally arrived, I was up early packing and arranging. My neighbors noticed the flurry of activity and stopped to chat.
"You’re moving?" they asked with a hint of disappointment in their voices. The sentiment was always followed by, "I don’t know how you got anything done over here in the first place. We never understood how you were able to write in this atmosphere."
So, while my old friends were sad to see me packing, they were supportive in the decision to find a more suitable space. Still, it was a bittersweet morning, especially when one of my closest neighbors stopped by with a pan of homemade pumpkin cupcakes topped with cinnamon buttercream frosting.
Before long, the technician had arrived. My electronics and phone were being packed up, moved and installed in my new place. While the technician was hard at work, I went back and forth with boxes of belongings.
Once my electronics and phone were set up, I began the grueling task of unpacking. While the space wasn’t all that different, a move does inspire experimentation with arrangement and the perception of a fresh start.
Also, moving is a great time to go through everything and purge that which is not needed. As I dropped stack after stack of unnecessaries into the recycle bin, I felt lighter and more agile. Sloughing off the excess in life opens us up for more creativity and productivity.
An hour and a half after my moving adventure began, I was all set up at my new workstation. My silly cartoons were tacked to my new cubicle walls. My files and supplies were put away. My lamp was situated perfectly on a movable shelf—though I was going to need an extension cord so I could plug it in and actually use it. I made a note to bring one from home.
My new desk was exactly the same size as my old desk, but I had more cubicle wall space. For a visual person, cubicle wall space is crucial. I also now had a white board on wheels. This was the most impressive feature of the new location, as scribbling ideas helps me think.
And while I left the cupcakes and other goodies behind, one of my new neighbors took me aside just before the end of the day. He noted he had something of extreme importance to discuss with me. Intrigued, I walked over to his workstation. He looked this way and that before opening a drawer.
"This," he began with a serious, emphatic tone, "is our community stash." I peered down into the drawer. It held a container of wasabi peas and a box of crackers. My new neighborhood had a secret snack stash. I knew at that moment that I was going to love my new neighborhood.
Micki Bare is a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau and the Courier-Tribune in Asheboro, N.C., and author of "Thurston T. Turtle Moves to Hubbleville." She lives in Asheboro with her husband, three children and mother. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org