Digital clutter, penpals, and MOVING!

I deleted 958 contacts from my Google account this morning, just before my coffee went cold. I’ve had the same email address since 2008, making it my longest relationship. That’s over a decade of correspondence and Craigslist dealings. So many real estate agents and exes and mystery people are finally gone and off my phone. This is all part of my greater effort to Konmari my life.

Next, I need to go through my photos. There could be thousands. But that’s for another time. I also have every single email I have ever written or received, archived and labeled, and I’m beginning to wonder why I do this. Why do I need all those old Alaska Airline newsletters and unsubscribe confirmations? Maybe I don’t. Digital clutter.

As part of my effort to limit my screen time, I asked my friend T if she’d like to be penpals instead of texting pals. We’re both excited, with multiple exclamation marks. This will also be a great way to use up all those Peta return address labels.

Except that we’re moving! Last weekend we signed a lease for a new apartment. That’s how we’re celebrating my new job. A salary of $110k is considered the poverty line in San Francisco proper. But we live in Hayward, where it’s substantially cheaper but still insane. We’ll be spending about half my pay on rent, but it’s worth it. Living with 7 people, 2 dogs, and 3 cats was never fun and as I look around in anticipation of our move, it occurs to me that I will miss nothing. Except for the daily neighborhood walk, which is maybe a 6/10 at best. We can do better. Across the board.

Life is looking up, minus the part where my 2-month training is out of state. Under typical circumstances, which means being in my early-to-mid 20s and unmarried, I’d be ecstatic to travel on the company dime and leave Shithold Hayward for work. But I have a new normal now: married with cats. Tyler and I did a long-distance marriage for 7 months a few years ago, and it was a strain. Obviously, 2 months apart for work is both productive and inherently temporary and therefore less painful, unlike those 7 months, which had no definite end; we just couldn’t find an affordable room in the Bay Area that would take a couple plus cats. So it’s manageable. But I already miss them.

But mostly I’m just very relieved that things are coming together. There was this study done on prison inmates who had no definite end to their sentence. They were in perpetual limbo. Those were the most depressed inmates with the highest rates of suicide. Not knowing when your current unfavorable circumstance will end, especially when you feel as though you have little to no control over it, is a psychological hell. You can’t plan for your future or live for anything if you feel as though you have nothing certain to live for. The same study was done on chronically unemployed men in the Depression. Same results. Not that I’ve been a prisoner or underemployed for very long, but it feels as though I have finally broken free of that mental hold. Relief is sweet.


Wife, yogi, and cat mama living in the SF Bay Area.

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