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A moving, philosophical tale
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A moving, philosophical tale

Moving to a new place is also a good chance to make a fresh start and to adopt habits you've always envied in other people - but it's the packing and unpacking that's proving a challenge to the human spirit, writes Peter Edgerton

Peter Edgerton / www.peteredgerton.com

Malaga

Friday, 31 May 2024, 15:59

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The sixth-century Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu famously declared that "He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened". Equally famously, he didn't add "and the best way for him to know himself is to move house" but he probably should have done.

After eight and a half years in my current flat, I'm in the throes of moving ten minutes down the road with all the incumbent shenanigans: contracting water, electricity, internet, etc. Actually that part has gone remarkably smoothly – it's the packing and unpacking that's proving a challenge to the human spirit.

A change of abode is, as we all know, the perfect opportunity for a good old clear-out and, to be fair, there has been a good number of bin bags filled to the brim over the past few days. However, who on earth can explain how a man can open a drawer full of electrical cables that hasn't seen the light of day for years and for him to then rub his chin in contemplation and think 'Do you know what? I'd better take every single one of these to the new place because you never know when I might need them'? That's just nuts – but it's precisely what I found myself doing.

Similarly, old passports. There's no reason for them to be kept. It's not like they remind me of the six-week trek I took through the jungles of Borneo because the nearest I ever got to that was a visit to Knowsley Safari Park one Sunday afternoon in 1983. And so, there they are, the passports, presently sitting in a drawer in the new flat just as they sat for aeons, unseen, in a drawer in the old flat. Maybe their allure lies in the scary mugshots they contain.

Moving to a new place is also a good chance to make a fresh start and to adopt habits you've always envied in other people. For example, you have the opportunity to become one of those human beings who has separate drawers for socks and underwear and to fold things neatly and pair them off correctly rather than chucking everything in a heap and playing a bleary-eyed game of lucky dip every morning.

I arrived with best of intentions and managed to put a couple of socks into the correct pairing without nodding off but then the phone rang so I just threw everything else into a pile on a shelf in the wardrobe, telling myself sternly that I'd sort it all out later. I clearly won't.

Wasn't it that other ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius who first said "Wherever you go, there you are"? He had a point.

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