The Art of Happy Moving
I’ve been dragging my feet for the past several months.
I had grand plans to go through every room in the house and purge closets, corners, and rooms that have become a place filled with 20 years of crap. The goal was to have this completed by the end of the year.
Summer vacation is when I should have started and as the holidays quickly approach, I know I will miss my initial deadline.
I know this because I haven’t even started yet.
And, I also know why I am dragging my feet.
Due to unexpected circumstances, my husband started a new job in May that adds a two-hour commute to his work day. You can read about that here! Because of this, we have decided to put our house up for sale and move closer to his new job site.
It was an easy decision, but in all honesty, I don’t want to move, which is strange because during my whole life I have done nothing but move, thanks to a military father and husband. So, I should be used to packing up every few years and starting a new, after all, it’s in my blood.
But something happened almost 20 years ago. We bought our first house when my husband retired from the Navy, and we moved our family across the country to live the rest of our ‘forever’ in one place.
We grew roots here.
We turned four children into eight when their spouses joined the family, and these walls have welcomed seven grandchildren into our lives.
We created memories.
As I walk past each room, those memories of the past play like a movie in my mind.
The treehouse in the backyard now sits empty, but if I listen hard enough, the bickering, yelling, and laughter of kids from yesterday fill my ears.
The holiday dinners where we didn’t have enough room for our ever growing family, but our hearts were full of so much love that we didn’t mind the closeness and chaos.
The renovations we did to make the house our own and the plans we still hoped to complete.
I don’t want to move.
“Life takes us by surprise and orders us to move toward the unknown -even when we don’t want to and when we think we don’t need to.”
— Paulo Coelho
I find myself angry at times because we have been put into a position where we have to move; A situation that changed the end game we had been preparing for and caused us to question everything we knew as true.
But if I have learned one thing in my life, it’s this; anger and happiness can not dwell together in the same house. Anger destroys happiness and leaves us stuck in the pages of our story. Letting go of resentment is one of the primary keys to turning the page and living a happy life.
Jobs, relationships, and people change and what we thought was the rest of our life, turns out to be the beginning of a new chapter, one we never imagined was part of our story.
And while change is never easy, it does not mean it is the end either.
Situations we go through do not determine our response. We determine our response. By taking a moment to pause and remember who we truly are, we can begin to reflect on the things that have real and lasting meaning in our life.
The Things That Are Real And Lasting
This house holds great memories for me, but truth be told it is just an average building with a roof and four walls. The memories don’t come from the building itself, but from what my family brought inside of it.
We brought a strong foundation of commitment to God, family and the world around us. We moved into this building, and we made it home. The kids moved out years ago, and I realize now, that the memories aren’t part of the house, but part of the heart. And now I understand that those precious memories will always be with me regardless of where I live.
“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.”
― Ellen Goodman
Facing The Future One Box At A Time
Now, I face the thing I didn’t want to do head on. I am ready to start the process of weeding through 20 years of ‘stuff’ so we can begin the next chapter of our story. Over the next few months, our life here will be placed in boxes as we decide what to keep, what to donate and what to throw away.
I am sure there will be moments where I sit and reflect as I hold something in my hand, doing my best to let it go as I move it from the keep box to the donate box.
But there is one box I have tucked away deep within and find I have been filling it for almost 57 years. It holds my most precious memories and has been filled by those that have touched my life. This box has become part of me, and those memories will stay in my heart forever.
Things I’ve Learned During This Chapter
1- It is okay to drag your feet, just don’t get stuck.
When unexpected things happen, it’s okay to take a moment to get your bearings while you evaluate your feelings and come up with a game plan. The important take-away here is not to remain stuck there. We can’t move forward if we stand still and wallow in what we deem as unfair.
2- Anger is part of the grieving process, but it’s no place to live.
Whether it is the loss of a loved one, a job or anything else, anger is just waiting to grab hold of us, but that’s part of grieving what we’ve lost. To turn the page and begin the next chapter, we have to ensure we do not dwell too long in anger. Seeing the world through anger only limits us and our potential.
3 – Life may try to box you in, but your heart can carry you through.
Think about it. This is not the first time you have faced difficulty. Life is full of good and bad times, and if you’re like me, you can see that during some of your hardest moments, you grew stronger. You made decisions that you might not have wanted to make, but they were necessary to get to that next phase. The heart holds memories of past victories and can give you the strength to hold on until the page turns.
Whatever you may be going through or if there has been some ‘end’ you’ve faced, remember this;
“Every ending is the beginning of something else. Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” ~ Marc Chernoff