About a year ago, my business moved from a location we had occupied for nearly five years into a new space.
While packing up and cleaning, we discovered items we were ready to part ways with. My co-workers and I marveled at how many things we owned and how many things we did not need. Cleaning out while packing up was very cathartic – letting go of old things while preparing for the new.
My moving experience was good – a necessary move that improved work flow, allowed for more customer space and more storage space and allowed all “sides” of my business to come together under one roof. It was an exciting time, and while there were challenges, there was tremendous joy.
This summer, I’ve helped family and friends move. Their experiences have been much different than my business move. Obviously, it’s personal, so there’s more emotions attached to the change. For one family, the move is 1200 miles away from their current home, and the goodbyes are much tougher. While the excitement of a new home is powerful, it does not seem to offset the anxiety and hard work that is involved in moving a family across the country. While helping my family members with their move, I’ve realized just how many things they have to change: doctors, schools, utilities, trash service, car registrations; the list is endless. Not to mention the intangibles like making your friends, meeting your new neighbors, adjusting the time it takes to get to the grocery, changing your morning routine and even your dialect. In the middle of all the changes, a new job is likely part of the move, and creates its own set of scary new opportunities.
As I was helping unpack the kitchen goods for my friend, doing my best to set up her kitchen (at her request) in the most efficient manner, I was overwhelmed thinking about all the rooms she would have to unpack – kids rooms, master bedroom, bathrooms, laundry, storage and so on. There were so many decisions to make about how she would plan to use her space every day.
So, wow. That’s a lot to deal with for a family.
When my family moved to Georgia, it was a culture shock for me and my sister. We were in middle school at the time and already awkward, so new schools, teenage hormones and funny-sounding accents were just more challenges to deal with. Within one school year, however, we knew our family had made the right choice and we’ve been Georgians ever since. Other than a whim to move to some tropical location every so often, I have no desire to ever leave Georgia. The friendliness of the people, the pleasant (sometimes really hot) weather, the mild winters, the ease of finding reputable service professionals all make living here is such a pleasure. I pray my family members find the same contentment while they’re going through all the challenges of the move.
I’ve seen another friend just move with her family from Georgia to California. I know she’s experiencing some culture shock. They don’t have any family there, but moved for her husband’s job. She’s expecting a little one, and has a toddler already. My heart broke for her when her parents, who had gone west with the family to help get everyone settled, had to leave to come back east over the weekend. While prayers were said for peaceful travels and easy transitions, the truth is that moving is hard. And the only way to get through all the “stuff” that goes with moving is to look for the positive. Find the silver linings.
When my sister and I moved my parents, who had lived in their home for nearly 20 years, we uncovered dust bunnies who had grown dust bunnies behind furniture, and stuff on top of stuff that hadn’t been looked at in years. People are like Jell-O and they will expand to meet the edges of their container. With a big house, you will manage to fill every nook and cranny if given enough time. It was then and there, standing in my parents’ driveway looking at bins and boxes piled high on the trailer, that my sister and I vowed that we would clean out our houses every five years as if we were getting ready to move.
We made this vow thinking that would help us eliminate clutter. We decided that while moving was truly aggravating and difficult, getting rid of clutter was a blessing! To be honest, neither of us has lived up to that promise. Life takes over, and you get used to your home and all the stuff that’s in it, and you get comfortable. She’s probably done a better job than I have in keeping the clutter to a minimum, but it’s still there. And neither one of us is planning to move anytime soon.
So the silver lining to move, to find that joy, means finding the peace in letting go of the past, letting go of stuff and finding the excitement of walking confidently to the future less encumbered by the things we’ve let go. While leaving behind friends, family and familiarity is difficult, the process of making changes and unpacking into new cupboards is freeing. Meeting new people and finding your new favorite family restaurant or learning the drive to your new home is strange and wonderful – like watching a movie before you’ve read the book.
The last family I just helped this summer, a family of seven and soon to be nine, has down-sized from a large home to a smaller home while their permanent housing is finalized. Their out-look on their life is totally based on trust – trusting each other to help them through the changes, but also trusting that peace and joy will come to them as the move comes to a close. And getting rid of some clutter along the way wasn’t a bad silver lining either.
Holly Lynch is the owner of The Season Events, a full service catering, event planning and design company.
*The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.