Moving

Moving has always been considered one of life’s most stressful events. It is right up there with death and divorce. So what does it say about me that I actually enjoy moving? I know that it is a lot of work and a huge hassle. Moving brings chaos at all stages: packing, the moving, resettling. But I really like changing my environment. Does this make me a stress junkie? Unstable? Or what?

I like moving to a new home and organizing our furniture and live in a new and different way. I like imagining myself in new spaces as this allows me to picture myself in new ways. For me, a move means being able to have new dreams for what I want in and out of my life. It opens up new ways for me to create a life I want. Moving into a new space feels fresh and sparkly to me. It is a way that I mother myself.

When we moved back to northern California in 2008 we downsized in order to afford a home in a community with great public schools for our daughter. [It was a bonus that our son started a university that was a short 15-minute drive from where we moved.] Going from 3000 square feet to 1400 square feet was a huge challenge. I held estate sales and garage sales and Craig’s List Sales before the move. After unpacking into our 5 walk-in closets and installing an armoire, we were able to squeeze our full household into a lovely, but small, condo that met our ‘big picture’ needs: good public schools, near my husband’s work, in a community that was safe, welcoming and friendly.

Now, seven years later, we no longer need the local public schools. Additionally, we liked living a more urban lifestyle during our time in Australia. So we are opening our lives to moving chaos once again. For me, this will be my 17th move (not counting various college apartments and dorms). The joke is that I don’t know how to clean a house, but I sure know how to pack and unpack one!

But moving isn’t a joke. It takes a lot of work to muster up the energy to make such a change. And even though this is a local move, only 20 minutes from where we have been living, we will need to recreate our lives using new services: yoga studio, grocery, pharmacy, pet store, coffee shop, dry cleaners etc. And it might mean that some of our friends will choose to drop away because we no longer live nearby.

We hope to make new friends while keeping the old ones—that childhood song wasn’t wrong, after all! The optimist in me believes this is possible, but the realist knows that while absence makes the heart grow fonder in poems, many people are more the “love the one you’re with” kind of friends. In other words, proximity determines contact. This is one of the stresses and downsides to moving: we risk losing friends who we like.

Only time will tell who stays in our lives and who doesn’t. Did our year in Australia weaken friendship bonds such that this move will break them? Or have we made good enough friends for whom location doesn’t matter? Do they value us and the joy we bring to each other’s lives more than the convenience of running into each other while doing errands around town?

The bottom line is that this is a good move for us. We are getting a large home in an urban environment that is close to my husband’s work but not too far from family and friends for a LOT less money.

Here are some photos of our new home, staged by the previous owners.

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Moving is a crap shoot, either our lives will be better or they won’t. Most of the time it is a mixed bag: I am already thinking about what I will miss about living in our current community as well as what I am looking forward to about our new one. If at the end of the day there is more positive than negative than we are ahead. My dream is that this move will mean keeping dear friends, while making new ones and a new life for ourselves in a new environment.

How has moving gone for you? What did you regret? What was better?



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6 thoughts on “Moving

  1. Julia

    How has moving gone for you? What did you regret? What was better?

    I miss my small, manageable yard that was right outside my back door, and my lovely neighbors, but otherwise, my life is better in every way after our move in November 2011. Of course it’s easy to say now that we’ve settled into a comfortable routine. I do remember it took 4 months after we moved to return to the level of day-to-day functioning that we took for granted before. I was quite surprised by that. And despite having culled our belongings, we still moved too much.

    All the best to you, and please do keep in touch with your Los Altos neighbors!

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thanks Julia! It is hard sometimes to remember that uprooting and moving does take time. Hearing your 4 months period gives me pause. And I hear you about bringing too much stuff. I am trying to fool myself by thinking our new place is smaller when it is in fact larger and has many places to store things. I have been culling through our stuff, trying desperately to give away and throw out what we just are not using. Of course it isn’t just me I am fighting, my husband, the pack rat, keeps saying that it is fine to move all of it to the new place. UGH!

      Reply
  2. Lorrie Goldin

    Both your old and new places are gorgeous! We are coming up on our 23rd anniversary of living in our current house. I have been contemplating all the things that need painting, fixing, sorting out–and thinking how much a move would force us to do these things. I don’t want or plan to move–I don’t like the process at all, in fact, and grieved our old home a lot even though it was entirely our choice to move. But I do hope I overcome the procrastination that sometimes only a move seems to cure. Good luck in your new neighborhood.

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thank you, I can’t take credit for the new place (yet!) but I spent a lot of time making our old place warm and comfortable. Grieving for past homes is something I can relate to. And in fact while I am very excited about the new move and our new place, I am already grieving our old place. We are giving up two magnificent patios and a wonderful gas fireplace. We are getting much more in return, but there are tradeoffs. As for being able to “spring” clean without a real move, it is hard. I have done it in places, but have found that only moving really facilitates the debate: keep, give away, or throw out!

      Reply
  3. Kim Acedo

    I love the fact that you embrace change. A different environment also allows us to see things from a different perspective. I’m sure you’ve experienced growth each of the 17 times you’ve moved! 😉 Wonderful post!

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thank you Kim! I do embrace change, but I think my husband would like it if I embraced it a little less–or at least liked moving a little less. I have experienced growth with each and every move. Some have been very positive and some down right mournful, but each experience has contributed to whom I am today. And I love being a new physical environment because it does bring me a whole new perspective. Looking forward to the new one in our new home–wonder how it will change my writing….

      Reply

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