Moving Part Six: Settle in and Reflect

Moving Part Six: Settle in and Reflect

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To wrap up this series on moving (at least for now), I wanted to make sure to touch on a very important part of the process–giving it time. Time to settle in, time to reflect, time to consider everything that just happened…even years later.

Part 6: Settle in and Reflect

The act of moving does not happen overnight. Maybe you got from point A to point B within one day of travel, but such an involved process takes time. Allow yourself time to get used to everything. Don’t strain to unpack everything right away. You will need to get used to your surroundings, from getting acquainted with the grocery store to discovering your new routine. It will take time to feel comfortable with it all. All the while, you will be trying to make new friends and likely be pushed outside of your comfort zone.

Keep busy, but not only with tasks and chores. Find time to take a walk around your neighborhood. Try a new coffee shop and visit a local attraction. Give yourself time to get to know your new community, even though you might feel like a tourist looking in. This will help you to better acclimate and come to love your new surroundings.

Since moving, I have found our favorite bakery, favorite pizza place, favorite coffee shop and have a running list of places I have yet to go to.

After a certain amount of time (6 months to a year and then again two years later), consider your decision to move. Was it the right one? Are you glad you moved? Is this where you want to stay for awhile? Do you want to go back? Allow yourself the opportunity to reflect on all you have done and learned in this time.

For me, Raleigh is the place to be. It’s perfectly surrounded by so much culture and activity in the Triangle, all while managing to be a few hours away from the beach. While pollen season was a new experience, I don’t miss the cold or the snow (which is increasingly apparent at this time of the year). My neighborhood has proven to be the perfect place to live, and I have made some great friends.

What’s your moving story?

Moving Part 5: Follow Through

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It’s been awhile since the last post on the moving process due to the 31 days project in October, but I’ve still got a few more steps to talk about. After our move from Iowa to North Carolina essentially on a whim, we got a lot of questions on what all went into the process and love hearing about the moving experiences of others.  If you’re new to the series and feel like starting at the beginning, here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Part 5: Follow through

The divide between steps four and five marks the difference between dreaming and doing. If you are going to move, then this requires actually moving before claiming a new home or state of residence. Granted, this can take months or even years, depending on the circumstances.

This part can be exhausting and stressful. It requires a lot of decisions, details and money. There are all sorts of tips and tricks you try to implement as you stuff boxes, pack the truck and drive off toward your new home.

To make it happen, we were constantly burning the midnight oil as we tried to finish up our obligations, make lasting memories and gain closure, all while seriously preparing to move halfway across the country.

To keep your sanity, here’s what I would recommend doing in the biggest stage of them all:

  • Make a list – there will be far too many details to keep straight and this will help you sleep a little better at night
  • Reduce your haul – have a garage sale, donate items or have your friends over to pass along anything you no longer need
  • Say goodbye – we invited everyone we knew to come over for one last barbeque at our house the day before we moved…some might find that crazy but it gave us some closure
  • Set a date – it has to happen and you will need a date to start sorting through the details of the moving truck and places to stay as you transition
  • Don’t rush into a housing decision – there are so many decisions to make and you might not be ready to finalize the place you want to live for the next several years, especially from afar. Consider short-term housing, a storage unit or extra trips beforehand to visit the area and confirm the right place to go.
  • Plan for leeway – the schedule might get thrown or your stress level might require a few extra take-out meals and chocolate so try to budget in as much extra time and money you can to alleviate some stress when something inevitably comes up
Guest Post: What It Took

Guest Post: What It Took

Samantha’s Note: Writing for 31 days is a great challenge, but one I quickly realized I couldn’t keep. I had more than one dream and area of focus that needed my attention this month. I found myself with too much to do and realized there was some rearranging to do. Thankfully, within the blogging community there were more than a few people ready and willing to help, and I’m so glad to have a few guests posts now throughout the month. Finding self isn’t about just me. We all have a story to tell and hearing from others can help us with our own. Today’s post is by Natalie, and she’s got a great perspective to share.

 

I think we will find ourselves over and over again throughout life. New parts of ourselves, hidden parts of ourselves, sometimes painful parts of ourselves.

Natalie - Finding Self | Moving Peaces

The most significant transformation I’ve seen in myself brought out a new, hidden, painful part of me. It happened like this.

A few weeks after graduating from college, I packed up to fly over an ocean to live in a small house with seven other adults and twenty small babies. Each day, I did my best to give those little babies all I could. Downtime was infrequent, and trips to town were rare. I got poop on my hands more than a few times.

But it was a sweet time God used to confirm my belief that four years of journalism were going to be used, for sure, but social work — orphan care, foster care, adoption — was where He really wanted me. I felt like I had hit my stride. I poured out every inch of me to love and serve that summer. And I’m so thankful for that stride-hitting and confirmation-feeling, because the next few months were hard.

I came home after eight weeks and promptly moved to a new city for grad school. I knew no one. Not even my roommate. All the friends and streets and favorite spots of familiar Iowa were far away. I no longer had the physical closeness of friends with whom I had gone to middle school, high school, and college. I no longer had my familiar routines I played out for four years in a little college town in the middle of Iowa.

I started a social work graduate program. And I have to tell you, God felt distant. I struggled to find my groove in all the areas — church, friendships, and school. But He wasn’t distant by His own doing. The only times He is distant on our journey to find ourselves is when we let Him be distant.

He was there. He pursued me. And through His closeness, I felt comfortable to pursue a deeper faith, good friends, and all these new passions. I found a great church community, I found my niche in the social work program, and I found my husband.

So, what did it take to find those parts of myself I discovered in 2010? It took the removal of all that was familiar and the realization of a God who was always there freeing me to be shaped into this me.

 

Natalie | Moving Peaces - Guest PostNatalie is a part-time social worker and waiting adoptive mama. She lives with her husband and dog in Indianapolis, and she blogs about adoption, foster care, faith, marriage, and home at little things + big stuff.

This post is a part of the Finding Self series for the 31 Days of blogging in October. To see the all posts in this series, check out the Finding Self page.

Moving Part 4: Making it “official”

Moving Part 4: Making it “official”

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As a continuation of my series about moving, here’s a little lesson on breaking the news. If you missed earlier posts in the series you can check them out here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

It all feels like a dream until you start telling people. It should feel like a dream for a little while. Dream away. Because once you start spreading the news, people will have questions and even more so, they will have comments. For instance, one friend told us we were crazy, to our faces and then walked away. Someone seemed to hardly find it interesting and kept talking about how good their soup was. Others were shocked and said very little, but some immediately celebrated with us and for us. We just never knew how someone would respond.

So, think through what your plan is and then tell people in stages, starting with those closest to you. I had talked about the desire to move for years, so to some it was not much of a surprise. For others, sharing the news about a move can seem monumental to those first hearing about it. It’s important to get some feedback along the way though, which is why it is helpful to share it with those you trust and love first. The more you share your plans and story, the more you will get a better idea of just what you are about to do means to you.

Further, don’t just think about what your plan is but have an actual plan. Without it, people will quickly tire of this “official” stage when you haven’t yet hit the “it’s really happening” stage.

Somewhat contrary to what I just said, here is the order in which my husband and I broke the news.

  1. Landlord (our lease required a 60-day notice, but otherwise, he was not the closest person in our lives)
  2. Parents
  3. Close friends (limited details)
  4. Siblings
  5. Close friends (extensive details)
  6. Friends
  7. Employers
  8. Commitments (i.e. utility company, volunteer organizations, bands, book club)
  9. Extended family
  10. Social media

The order of your list might be different but it is good to consider what your timeline will be based on your comfort and your responsibilities.

Have you had to break the news about a move? How did you do it and how did it go?

Moving Part 3: Lining up Logistics

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Based on our move across the country two years ago, I’ve started writing a little more about what all went into our move and some of the steps I’d recommend considering when making such a decision. Are you new to the series? Feel free to check out part 1 or part 2 first.

Part 3: Lining up Logistics

Logistics in a move may include selling your house, saving money, finding a new job or fulfilling prior obligations before going through with it. For some, it might even be realizing that the timing is off and needing to table it for another time in life. (At one point, this where we were at despite all my best efforts. Ultimately, the timing was best when I wasn’t trying to force it). All of these are understandable reasons to delay or decide against a move. If it comes down to that, be honest about it. Maybe you tried skipping a few steps but you weren’t actually ready yet for whatever reason.

When we decided to move, we had been saving money away for years, were renting our house and knew we were moving to an area with a good economic climate. Our situation is not the same for everyone else. We were able to move without jobs lined up, which, albeit scary, worked out. Sometimes, that is not a possibility, and that’s okay.

If you are looking for jobs, consider making it clear when you plan to move by providing dates if possible. Or explain your reasons for choosing to move to the area in your cover letter so your potential future employer knows you aren’t just applying to jobs at random.

For us, lining up logistics meant researching the area we were going to and starting to understand what the business climate was, what the cost of living would be and talking to anyone we knew who had lived in that part of the country. We had far fewer logistics than most people might have, which was partly why this was the right time in life for us to move. No house, no kids, no debt.

Having any one of those things is not necessarily a deal breaker, just something to consider. If you own your home, consider your options by putting your house up for sale or maybe, up for rent with a local management company. With debt, it may be worthwhile to work towards paying off your debt before a move so you have more freedom and flexibility. With kids, I cannot give a lot of guidance as we don’t have any kids yet, but I’m guessing you’ll have a few more logistics to work out depending on their ages and needs. As I said, we didn’t have these three things, so lining up these details may look very different for you.

Instead, we had to overcome the hurdle and insecurities that came with moving without a job or sense of security on the other side. We had to go back and fully understand our intentions, which meant repeating parts one and two quite frequently.

This an incredibly tricky step in the process. It can be exhausting and disheartening. For some this stage takes weeks and for others, this can take years. Try to stay positive through it all, but also realize your limitations and manage your expectations as much as possible.

 

Moving Part 2: Finding a Location

Packed Truck

Based the questions I am often fielding about our move, I’ve written up a few parts of the moving process. You can start reading it wherever it is most helpful but if you’re particular about following the order, you can start with Part 1: Deciding to Move.

Part 2: Finding a Location

For some, this part of the process is dictated by outside factors. This may include a job offer, a family tie or something out of your control. If so, this part will look different. Finding a location will mean, finding a job or family tie or whatever it is that is calling you and then sorting out the details to make it a reality.

For me, I needed to sort through what I wanted in a place. Criteria can range from the size of the town to the weather in the winter.

The following contributed to our list of criteria:

  • Near geographic interest (i.e. mountains or ocean)
  • Warmer weather year-round
  • Bigger city than current location or nearby one
  • Within 20 minutes of a Target and within an hour of Trader Joe’s
  • Music and arts culture

Having criteria helps, but it does not automatically give you the answer. There were several cities that fit this description. For some, several options is a positive thing and can lead to more opportunities in the job search. For others, it can be difficult to plan without a narrowed search or a clear direction. Moving can be a complicated process with a lot of planning involved, so it’s best to go with what you are more comfortable with.

The final push for Raleigh came because of these key factors:

  • It showed up on similar “Best City for…” lists as Des Moines. Knowing we liked Des Moines helped us realize this would be something we would like.
  • Family would be three hours away, which we knew would be helpful
  • We had some familiarity with that region of the country, although limited knowledge of Raleigh itself

Moving Part 1: Deciding to Move

Moving | Moving Peaces

Two years ago, I moved to North Carolina from Iowa. I am constantly being asked why I moved and when seeing a bunch of family and friends from the Midwest I have to give reasons that they may never see or understand.

Anyone else moved outside of the state? What was your reason? Well, I didn’t have reasons like that. [Okay, maybe that’s a big assumption. But the point is, I didn’t move for the normal reasons of a job or family.]

I thought I would put together some of the considerations to make when you move, how to do it and why I love where I live now.

Part 1: Deciding to move

This should never be taken lightly. It changes your friends, neighborhood, job and sometimes even your hobbies.

How do you know if a move is right for you?

Ask yourself why you want to move. Is it to pursue a dream or a passion? Go after growth in your life? Have you felt a calling to a particular part of the world? Is an opportunity available?

Before deciding to move, it’s important to understand where you live currently and what its pros and cons are. That way, you have something to go off of as you make your decision. Do you like the community feel? Is there a good arts and music culture or a solid career path ahead of you? Is the job market good? Is your house your favorite place in the world? Are you sure you want to actually move?

While I lived in Des Moines and loved it, I knew it was time to step out and find the best fit for me at a time in my life when I could take a risk. For us, that meant no kids, no house and no debt.

If you are considering making a move, I’d start by really understanding your motivation and then assessing your current situation.

Ready for more?

Part 2: Finding a Location

Part 3: Lining up Logistics

Part 4: Making it “official”

Part 5: Follow Through

Part 6: Settle in and Reflect

 

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