Lessons Learned from Moving     

Some of you are aware of my recent move from a condo to a house just down the street. Our house number changed by only a few digits, but we might as well have moved to a state across the U.S. or a country far away.

As in any significant undertaking, there were gains, losses, and lessons. Yes, there are lessons learned from moving.

The Scenario

We had lived in the cond for almost three years. Jack had worked hard to transform it from ordinary to spectacular and needed new projects. Also, there was no grass in the complex for dogs, and we had to go to the dog park a couple of times a day when the pavement was too hot for tender paws. So we put the condo on the market “for sale by owner.” There was not a lot of activity until the end of the winter- visitor season. Then, following a rash of showings, we got an offer from someone who wanted to move into the condo in 30 days. We accepted the offer.

Now what? Where can we go?

A house came on the market just down the street and, after a couple of visits, we decided it was right for us. We made an offer which was accepted. The dilemma? We had to be out of the condo several days before we could get into the new place. Jack did a masterful job of negotiating all the tiny details and the result was that we would move out of the condo and two days later move into the house. We could stay in a hotel for two days. The moving company rented a truck to store our things and unload later.

The perfect solution, right?

lessons learned from moving
(c) Can Stock Photo / Jcomp

It was perfect until we learned that the town was going to repave the street the day we were supposed to move in. Wow! Now what? None of us wanted to be moving when hot asphalt was being poured on the street.

The mover had a huge move the day before they were to move us,  but came after they finished and unloaded our truck a day early. (If anyone in Fountain Hills is moving, I highly recommend “Little Movers.” They are the best. Absolutely the best.) The day after we moved in, the street was torn up for repaving. Whew!

So what were the lessons learned from moving?

What seems impossible can be accomplished and sometimes it requires letting go

According to Tyler Tervooren, founder of Riskology, “ The #1 thing you must have in order to do the impossible is commitment. It comes before planning and action and everything else.”  We were both committed and motivated. When we had given up on the sale of the condo, we got a buyer. When we had no place to go, we found the perfect house. And when everything about the move seemed to go haywire there was a solution allowing us to move with some degree of grace and ease.

You can ask for help

People we asked for help pitched in. My son took the dogs for two days (he already has four of his own so he spent two days with six dogs. That’s heroic.) He also let us store things at his house and delivered them when we were ready to receive them. The movers adjusted their schedule because we asked them to help solve the problem. There are many more examples but this is an important lesson learned from moving. Ask.

Sometimes it isn’t easy to ask for help. Take a look at this for encouragement:

Change can be exhausting and at the same time exhilarating

I don’t think I have ever been so tired and yet I had to keep going. Boxes were everywhere and stuff needed to be put away. Jack looked exhausted, too, and we had to take frequent breaks. We were motivated by the fact that his daughter would arrive in less than a week for a visit. We knew things didn’t have to be perfect, but we did need to be able to get through the house without tripping over a box. My body ached. My back and feet hurt. I would need to sit every few minutes or after every task. I was very aware of my age—OLD.

And yet, when I looked around, and things began to change and come together, it was exhilarating. We have a nice backyard and the dogs explored every inch. Freedom. Space. Outdoors. I could almost hear them saying, “Oh boy. Yippee. A yard.” Tails were wagging at an all-time speed. The condo floor was all tile but the new house has nice thick carpet that makes for happy feet and the pooches like the carpet as much as a dog bed. I could go on, but the bottom line is that we are now in a house that we love, that has a yard,  carpet under our feet and much, much more.

General George Patton said, “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” He was right. There were many little victories during this move as well as the big victory of seeing the end result.

When unexpected things happen, look for unexpected solutions

The washer and dryer looked good but they did not work.   Jack put in a load of laundry and watched the washer fill with water and shut down. Kaput. It wouldn’t agitate and it lessons learned from movingwould not empty. He took the wet, dirty clothes to my son’s house and I bailed the water out by hand.  We now have new state-of-the-art appliances. It’s almost a joy to do laundry.

There are sometimes serendipities

We knew we had a backyard with a fence that allowed us to see out. What we had not thought of was what we would experience.  The first evening we were here, we went outside to rest a moment. It was sunset. The sun, on its way down, was still peeking over the McDowell Mountains filling the sky with purple, orange, pink and peach as the light filtered through the clouds. A breath-taking Arizona sunset. Since that time, I have seen bunnies, a family of quail and a roadrunner in our back yard. A newly purchased hummingbird feeder hangs on the patio, inviting its little visitors to come take a sip.  What a reward! Or as they say in business, “What a return on investment.”

The parting word

These are just a few of the lessons learned from moving. There are many more. After the fact, if I had to give advice, I would say that when you are in your eighties, it may not be smart to move. On the other hand, it might be one of the best choices you could have made. You are never too old to enjoy challenge, change, or beauty.

And you are never too old to learn from it.

Go fo it!

 

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