Matt and I closed on a house in Frederick, MD last week, and we have spent the past 7 days moving and settling in to our new home. It has been a real drain on my energy and on my business development, but, hey, we shouldn’t have to do this again for quite a few years.
Although this is our first move as a married couple and the first home I have ever owned, this is certainly not my first big move. My dad was an officer in the Army while I was growing up, so moving is just part of my life.
These are the places I have lived, in chronological order:
- Heidelberg, Germany
- Enterprise, AL
- Patuxent River, MD
- Enterprise, AL
- Fort Hood, TX
- Tampa, FL
- Culpeper, VA
- Fredericksburg, VA
- Charlottesville, VA
- West Lafayette, IN
- Rockville, MD
- Frederick, MD
For many Army brats, this list is much longer. While my dad retired when we were in Texas, I only got to spend high school in Culpeper before going to Mary Washington and then UVA for college. While most people are more attached to their undergraduate institutions, I spent more time at Purdue than I did at UVA or UMW.
A lifetime of moving has taught me a lot about attachment and commitment. These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned.
Good friends will remain your friends, wherever you go
I used to collect mailing addresses for my friends before each move. Since most of my friends were also Army brats, however, they would be moving soon as well. Letters would eventually get lost in the shuffle.
The internet (and, perhaps more importantly, the ubiquity of the internet) changed how we interact. Even my parents, who had particularly difficult times maintaining contact with old friends as we moved, have reconnected with others on Facebook. Some of them are meeting up for a mini reunion this summer–how cool is that?
With the resources available now, moving is no longer the incredibly isolating experience that it used to be. If your friends are truly good friends, they will remain that way.
Just remember: making contact is a two-way street. Do your part to stay in touch as well.
Displacement is temporary
The lack of structure and routine during a move can be disorienting and difficult to handle for many people. I have anxiety issues for which I am medicated and in therapy for (for those unaware, OCD is an anxiety disorder.)
Some combination of what I consider my “true” personality in combination with my OCD makes me rather territorial, despite my regular moves. I was that kid in school who sat at the same desk every day, even without assigned seating. If I found someone in my seat, I wouldn’t confront them, but I’d sit elsewhere and spend the rest of that class anxious that I was out of place.
Moving is essentially a magnified version of finding yourself out of place. Animals respond to the stress by marking their territory (thankfully, our cats have thus far avoided that temptation at the new place). As higher functioning creatures, we can rationalize with ourselves. The discomfort from a move is temporary, and once you are finally unpacked and organized, you’ll find yourself settling back into a new routine.
Everywhere you go, there you’ll be (and so will everything else)
This is a popular phrase to remind people that they can’t run from themselves. From my years of moving, one thing I’ve realized is that you can’t run from society either.
Sure, the culture of a community will be different from place to place, and an urban environment is different than a rural one, but the underlying themes remain the same. Unless you’re on one of those off-the-grid shows that my husband watches…then you’re really on your own.
Don’t expect to escape from crappy neighbors, because you’ll certainly run into them everywhere. The town gossip? Different name here, but same mode of operation. Kids’ soccer game politics? Ongoing here too. Barking dogs? Still here.
Enjoy your move, and recognize that, while you are starting a new journey, many things in life are constants. Even friends, discomfort, and your nosy neighbors.