Back again staring at the empty word document but with a better idea of how to write a blog this time! I’ve been moving house this week from my little student house in the city to somewhere much nicer. This has simultaneously been very exciting and immensely stressful, there’s a huge element of lack of control when moving and this is something I really dislike. I’ve not started my mindfulness course yet (Level 1 Being Present) but have been doing my best to let go of what I can’t control, and am incredibly grateful to my partner for putting up with this stressed out version of myself.
Now we’re all moved and the process of settling in can begin, especially for my little dog who has been very confused this past week. On our last day at the old house the dogs bed had been packed and driven over to the new house, she was severely unimpressed by this and insisted on taking up 50% of the human bed for herself. Contrary to stress of packing up a house, I love to unpack which is great as my partner hates this part of a move. I find real joy in cleaning and finding a place for everything to belong, and so am quite enjoying putting some tunes on and filling the new house with all our eccentric possessions.
Humans really are evolved to be quite nomadic, but generally in one ancestral landscape and I’ve found myself wondering what part this plays in we experience moving in the modern world. As an Archaeologist I, quite annoyingly I’m sure, relate everything back to archaeology, but I think a huge part of understanding modern behaviours lies in our collective histories. Everyone I have spoken to has enthusiastically agreed that moving house is one of the more stress inducing life experiences. For a species evolved to be nomadic then why is moving location so difficult for us now?
I think a huge part of the problem is pleasing landlords and getting deposits back which as a stressor is pretty self-explanatory. Pre-historically we would never have to worry so much about what we left behind in the landscape, with concerns mainly focussed on following resources. In the modern world we are also very invested in material goods, in the stone age when something was lost or broken a new one could me made by hand and ones collection of material goods was small, to fit with the nomadic lifestyle. Being so connected to our possessions and the money invested in them makes moving to a different place difficult, I’ve found myself being overly concerned with ensuring everything arrived here safely. This is coupled with a real reluctance to get rid of stuff partially due to my own personal connection to material objects and also due to a fear of being wasteful and adding further pollution to an already struggling planet. Over this past week I’ve had to actively remind myself to let go of this materialistic nature and let it be, if anything to just reduce my own stress and make the process easier.
My final though on this idea is about community, although the area I have just moved from is not a desirable place to live on paper it has a wonderful community of people who I had come to rely on. I moved last year too in the middle of lockdown, to a house just down the street so didn’t lose this community and in many ways it was a much easier move. Humans really do become connected to the landscape and community they live in, this can be seen in human history across the globe. Leaving this landscape, as I have just done, to an area you barely know is very strange. Our local shop became somewhat of a second home for us over the lockdown, and our neighbour became a good friend, being a mother she’s always happy to look after her student neighbours. I knew the area extremely well, with it being a maze of industrial factory houses, all the shortcuts and paths between places were laid out in my head. In the past our nomadic ancestors would have had similar connections to their landscapes, they too would have known all the routes and paths and had people to rely on, but with much longer ancestral histories. We are all still connected to these ways of thinking and understanding the world and I think it is important to reflect on these ideas and observe how they play out in our modern world.
There are so many things about my new house that I love and am so looking forward to living here. Here’s to building new communities and learning new paths and shortcuts. Thank you for reading my archaeological ramblings, and if you have any thoughts on the topic let me know!
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