Did you recently move? Do you feel a loss of identity, uprootedness, grief, sadness, disappointment or comparing what was to what is? Then congratulations, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 40 million people move across the United States, annually.
You, like many, ended up in a new town, as your kids go to school, a spouse goes to work; and are left behind to pick up the pieces – find a new gym, a pediatrician, a church, new friends, a job, and make the house a home.
How do you pick up the pieces and start a new life, elsewhere?
I love new beginnings. I love it when a new door opens, new friends join my circle, new adventures begin. It brings oxygen and a freshness to a season.
But moving my family 2,000 miles across country, involving geographical, cultural and extreme temperature changes – prepared, I was NOT! With two business and four kids in tow, we traded pine trees for prickly cactus and lush green grass for desert rocks.
At first, it felt like a vacation, as if we were visiting a lovely area of the country, but heading home soon. As the weeks progressed, a sense of sadness, anxiety and fear of the unknown appeared.
We left our friends, family, church, sports teams and community behind. A house that had been precisely decorated to reflect our Southern charm, gone. Now we’re moving to a new town Ya’ll – that will not understand our accent, our need for grits, SEC football, Sweet Tea, Nascar and porch swings.
As I roamed a local coffee shop, looking for answers, I came upon a book, “After the Boxes are Unpacked” by Susan Miller, a Southern transplant, now living in Scottsdale.
As I flipped through the pages, I read the phrase: Grits to Guacamole.
Immediately, a tear by passed my tear duct and shot straight out of my eyeball. I practically did a cartwheel in front of the book shelf. With over 100,000 copies sold, I knew the answers to creating an emotionally smooth transition, lie within these pages. I’ve since, taken her “Just Moved” class at Scottsdale Bible Church, and it was a total game-changer.
The Mom’ sGuide to Moving: 4 Do’s and Dont’s to Creating an Emotionally Smooth, Family Transition
1) Don’t compare your old life to your new one.
Your brick house with the porch swing to your stucco house with a patio.
Embrace it, or you’ll find yourself in a constant state of complaining, feeding negative energy that will only weigh you down. When mom is miserable, everyone else is too. Your life is not in your hands, but your attitude is.
2) Don’t sit around waiting for opportunity to knock.
Hey girl, I heard you’re an amazing life-long kind of friend, let’s hang out. Probably not gonna happen. Don’t mull around in a state of self pity, and a “why me” attitude. Find hobbies: join a gym, a running club, a tennis team, a painting class. Volunteer. Don’t stand on the sidelines, jump in and swim.
3). Create a happy home-environment.
Perhaps your move is temporary, be it the military, or a short term job. But remember, children are constantly making memories, whether good or bad. Decorate their bedroom with a special theme. Plant flowers by the front door. Buy a trampoline or swing set for the kids to jump, swing, laugh and play. Create an environment that provides special moments and comforting traditions they’ll talk about for years to come. Hey mom, do you remember when . . .
4) Design family-bonding experiences :
Enjoy s’mores by the fire pit, game night, or a sunny day at the baseball field. Try the 52 Hike Challenge, climbing one mountain per week for 52 weeks, creating lifelong friendships, laughs and good health.
Be the boss of your own life. You can hang onto the baggage that’s weighing you down or choose contentment, happiness and deep-rooted satisfaction. It’s ok to love where you came from, but you can’t move forward, if you’re always looking back.
Here’s to living the Best Version of You!