I'm reading a book called The Time Paradox, by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd. One of the many questions they ask in this book is "What is your first memory?"
My first memory is of the house on the west side. It's hazy. I was probably four years old. The house itself is green-ish, with a front porch, on a city block. There's a dog, a white dog with black ears that I'd creatively named 'Snoopy'.
A year later, that house would be gone, and my dog would be dead.
I think I learned fairly early on that the things and people we love in this life are impermanent. That's why I've always had an interest in Religion and Magic, which claim in their own ways to touch something which is imperishable. It's also why I place more value on a good dinner with friends than a nice house in the rich area of town. All things are transitory, and I like to acknowledge that up front rather than hide behind the illusion of permanence. That house will pass just as surely as that dinner, simply slower.
I think this early experience of moving also made me less tied to place. When my parents sold the house I grew up in, the one we moved into after the West Side house, I'd been there 13 years. I was sad that we were moving, but at the same time I knew that it'd be a change, a new adventure. Going forward, in the last 19 years I've moved 21 times. The longest I've spent at one address is 3 years. In that time, I've been married 10 years, and had long relationships with other folks. Relationships matter to me, houses don't. But they all pass away. I don't know a single person from grade school, three from High School, a handful from college, and another handful from the time I was married. People have come, made their mark, and gone. Some I still talk to occasionally, some are completely gone.
This perspective has it's good and bad points. I am terrible about managing my personal money. Other people's money is different, as I'm trying to do a good job for them. My money, though, is impermanent. I'm getting better, though. However, financial setbacks don't devastate me, they usually just anger me for a bit.
As I prepare to make another move, I've been thinking about the roots we set down, and how easy it is to pull them up. I'm planning to move across the country, not because I like the area so much (although I do), but because of the people who are there, and are here, drawing me out, pushing me on.
I'll miss a lot of what I have here. I console myself with the thought: All things pass away.