In trying to decide on a blog post this month, I find my brain’s idea bank empty. Lately, all my energies are dedicated to the frustrating, exciting, and exhausting upheaval of moving house.
Moving isn’t unusual in the United States. If you think back to the Oregon trail and the expansion of the country from the east coast to the west, it’s clear that the American spirit contains a bit of wanderlust. A search for greener pastures. Data bears that out. Based on a 2013 Gallup survey, Americans pick up their stuff and move more than people in any other country in the world. Jobs, family, education, and new opportunities provide movers with impetus for relocating every day.
Relocating even plays a big role in American fiction. From classics like The Grapes of Wrath to modern bestsellers like Twilight, characters who find themselves on a journey or plopped down in a new city provide lots of conflict and many opportunities for new twists on the “fish out of water” plight.
I’ll admit I didn’t come from a family of movers. From birth to my late 20’s, I lived in the same Indiana college town. Yet even as a kid I had high hopes of traveling the world and living in another part of the country. In my teenage years, I fantasized about becoming an au pair or nanny someplace in Britain. In my early adult years, I started thinking of how I could put my degree in education to work in another state. After planning and exploration, I moved to Oregon in 2000. I packed as much stuff as I could into the trunk and back seat of my Toyota and headed off across the country. Little did I know, that would be the easiest move of my life.
No one explained to me that as you age, you acquire. Back in 2000, I didn’t own furniture. Heck, I didn’t even own silverware. I was free and unfettered. It made for a Spartan living space but a supremely simple move.
Now, as my husband and I prepare to move from a small apartment to a bigger one, we’re equal parts hope and grumpiness. All our belongings, from furniture to dishes to beloved family knickknacks are suddenly up for debate. Last night, we grumbled at each other over DVDs. A week ago, we debated the appropriate number of mugs and teacups a childless couple should own.
I know we’ll get it all moved, and we’ll be grateful for the new digs, no matter how sore our backs are at that point. As much as I resist change, new starts and perspectives have often proved to be the greatest blessings of my life. Even in that same small Indiana house where I spent the first 20 years of my life, I insisted on painting my room a new color every few years and rearranging furniture often enough to irritate my mom.
Change can be good. Letting go can be liberating.
How do you feel about moving? Do you have a move coming up or have you recently survived one? Any pro tips to offer? Alternately, have you read a great “fish out of water” novel lately?
PS. My Victorian historical romance, Rules for a Rogue, is on sale for 99 cents!