I'm moving house this week, one of the few remaining legal forms of torture. The third time in three years, it seems I'm a glutton for punishment, but really I'm just drawn to inner city terraces earmarked for Development Applications.
Given how regularly I've moved throughout my twenties, it's become a strangely accurate barometer of how much I've changed. Every new lease = a new lease on life.
But what I know now, above all, is that I'll pay absolutely any price to make the experience easier; removalists, house cleaners, gardeners, spiritual advisors performing sage ceremonies. Anyone who is offering a service that reduces stress, please inquire within.
The allure of the new
When I first moved out of home, the entire thing was an adventure. My flat mates and I hired a barely-roadworthy rental truck from a barely-legit rental company and decided to do it all ourselves. We sat three abreast, high on the adrenaline of our newfound independence (also from the noxious fumes filling the front cabin).
We roped in friends and family with the lure of free beers and food if they helped. The only thing emptier than the promise, the fridge they'd just carried in.
It continued this way for the next few moves. Putting the call out, hiring the truck, lifting, packing, taping, swearing, drinking, guiltily leaving mattresses on various side streets around nearby suburbs.
Scratch the surface
But with each change of scene, the novelty began to wear off; it felt less like a charming montage from a movie and more like a chore I wanted to outsource.
Where once I would be doubled over in laughter as we tried to negotiate a one-tonne truck down a one-way street, I now only saw the potential for problems.
If we scratched a car, we'd have to leave a politely worded note which would require a follow-up and of course, money.
So this time around, despite some half-hearted "do you want help moving?" offers from friends, I decided to do the adult thing - hire removalists.
Logging on to AirTasker, I found so many well-equipped relocators, and it quickly became a decision between who had the best moving-related pun business name.
It was a tough choice between Movin' On Up, Groovin' The Move, The Vanga Boys and eventual winners, Final Destination.
I couldn't wait to mention in conversation that I was moving so that people would ask "Are you doing it yourself?"
'Absolutely not,' I'd say proudly. 'I have two men and a van, and they're doing it all!'
Pivot, step, pause
As things got underway this week, I did have a brief moment of removalist-regret. Never again would I experience the bonding that is trying to manoeuvre a couch up a staircase that appears to have been designed by M.C. Escher.
"I'll push, and at the same time you pull, then it'll fit," someone says, well aware it won't fit.
"Wait, what if we flip it? PIVOT!"
But it didn't take long for the rose coloured glasses to be taken off (and packed away), as familiar chaos descended. Even with the aid of removalists, moving really can bring out the worst in people.
Unpacking your life
As the frustration with packing up your life begins to build, so too does a running commentary on who has more useless shit. I've spent hours this week defending multiple panic purchases - the large Astro Boy poster I shipped home from Japan remains a contentious issue. Meanwhile, I've slipped seamlessly into predictable male, watching on in awe as my fiancée boxes up her ever-expanding wardrobe.
How many pairs of nude heels does someone need? What is the poncho? When do you intend to wear the overalls exactly?
Ah, now this feels more like it. And so, as I watch the Final Destination guys grunt at one another while nearly dropping the washing machine, I'm thankful that I've embraced this new, pay-to-make-it-go-away stage of life.
Moving out doesn't always mean moving on, but in this case, it does. And while you can't hire someone to help you move on, you can definitely hire someone to help you move out.
After continually being told to "use his words" as a young boy, Thomas Mitchell took that advice on board and never looked back. Since then his words appeared all over the place, including in the Sydney Morning Herald, Time Out, The Huffington Post and GQ. Thomas spends his days observing the unique behaviour of the Australian male, while trying not to overstay his welcome at the local cafe.
Follow Thomas on Twitter.