I have moved 3 times in just shy of 2 years. 2/3 of these moves have been out of state. So you could say I have been through a bit of transition lately. Actually a lot.. The short version is that we moved for a job, we experienced a lonely season without lots of close friends or community, I started my blog, my husband later got laid off, we had to move in with the in laws, our house out of state finally sold a year and a half after we moved, the new job start date was delayed, we got connected to amazing friends, found community, I networked with other bloggers, the new job was ready to start……time to move…. Here we go again.
Isn’t life like that. As soon as we settle in and finally feel comfortable it’s time to change. Sometimes our choice, sometimes not. We have to bend and adapt so that life doesn’t break us.
So what have I learned these last 3 years?
I can do hard things. If you would have told me what would have happened when we packed up the moving truck the 1st time, I probably would have never moved to begin with. I was very comfortable and loved all of the aspects of my life before we moved. Being on the other side of it , I recognize that we are better people because of the hardship we went through. We also enjoyed so many blessings those 2 years too. The bittersweet is what gave us hope in the midst of the storm.
Tough times can pull you together or pull you apart. I’m grateful to report that losing everything has brought my husband and I closer together not farther apart. We wanted to run from the hard situation but not from each other. It was important to remember that we’re on the same team and it’s easier to work together than against each other.
I heard a message where the speaker shared that “sometimes everything has to fall apart in order for it to fall together.” That was so true in our lives. Being stripped of pride and being given the gift of humility and a true empathy for identifying with those less fortunate is a lesson we will always carry with us. Empathy and sympathy are two very different things. We always cared about the less fortunate but we were given the opportunity to identify with them too.
You’re situation may be miserable but you don’t have to be. Our situation was rock bottom financially 13 years into our marriage. If I stayed in my inlaws basement all day dwelling on our circumstance, I would have entered into a severe depression. I made it my mission to get creative and find ways for our family to still enjoy our life and not stop living out of fear.
Friends are the family you chose. This is not meant to be an insult to family members. They can and have been a great source of support to us too. Sometimes you just need to also find people outside of the situation who you don’t have a complicated history with.
As a girl without a sister, I’ve found that my close girlfriends become like a sister relationship to me minus the history of drama. When we lived away from family before, we had to really force ourselves to lean on others and form a new system of support.
We’ve also been able to extend support to friends who have moved to our city without family. We got to share a Thanksgiving one year with another family who also didn’t have a lot of family in the area.
Not living near family really made us stretch and grow out of our comfort zone. Your family doesn’t have to be limited to a last name or bloodline. If you’re friends with your family that’s even better.
You have to put yourself out there. People will not be banging down your door begging you to be their best friend. Most people are content with their existing relationships and are not in the mindset that their potential new bff could have just rolled into town. It’s scary but you just need a few seconds of bravery for every new situation. Half the battle is showing up and sometimes that’s the hardest part to overcome the fears and excuses in your mind.
You need to go places and take the first step. Whether it’s a local gym, park, or business networking function, you need to initiate the first contact with others.
We moved in to our new town and not one neighbor introduced themselves as we were unloading the truck. The first chance I got a few days later, I introduced myself to our next door neighbor while they were doing yard work. I will also take note that I want to be the friendliest neighbor when I see someone new move into our area. I would have loved if a neighbor would have offered an ice cold glass of water while we were unpacking our moving truck in 95 degree heat.
You won’t click with everyone and that’s ok. I thought I was a bit crazy my first year in Grand Rapids because relationships didn’t seem to be clicking with me. I went from having a weekly moms night out at Starbucks, church community, gym, jobs I enjoyed- to nothing. I went to church and it didn’t really click and old relationships didn’t reconnect how that I had hoped. I just didn’t get it. I was a social person who was disconnected socially.
Some relationships are for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
One of the things I strive for is to be a really good friend. My friendship relationships are drama free and easy. It wasn’t until a year later that I realized that I just wasn’t connecting with the right people for me. I met someone who invited me to her mom’s coffee group and it just clicked. It was easy. I won’t say I wasn’t intimidated because I was. I wondered if they would like me, would I feel awkward and would they even invite me back. I even got to the point where I would go to the moms group even when my friend couldn’t make it. It was a total leap out of my comfort zone but I desperately needed community.
I experienced that bittersweet blessing of moving away again from so many great and restablished friendships. Even though it was only a year to spend with them, I am honored and excited at the thought of visiting them again.
I recently reconnected with a friend in my hometown who I had not hung out with for years. We talked like it was old times and it was just easy. Investing in friends is work but the conversations shouldn’t be. I know if I connect with someone pretty quick into a conversation and there typically isn’t opportunity for awkward pauses because it just flows.
Birds of a feather do typically flock together. Understanding your personality and how you’re wired can help you better connect with others.
For instance, I’m a “why not?” personality. It can be really hard if I surround myself with “why?” personalities because they don’t get me or the way I approach life. There isn’t a right or wrong to it. Just different flavors and styles and every type is needed.
When you move, you get to live like a tourist. It’s amazing how much people take for granted in their own hometowns. Myself included. When we moved to Grand Rapids, I made it my mission to find all of the unique/special places in the area. Each state that we have lived in has given us an opportunity to explore surrounding areas of the country that we might not have ever visited otherwise. You also have an advantage because territories and the town’s gossip history mean nothing you. People can get stuck in a mindset over which side of the city they live in and never branch out.
The gps and Google are your friend. Use daily and seek to discover.
If you are open, you can meet amazing people wherever you live . A perk of making great friends in every city you’ve lived in is that you have an excuse to visit people all over the country. We have many friendships from cities that we’ve lived in that have become like family to us.
What you are looking for you will find. Try to focus on redeeming the good wherever you go. Finding the negative about people or places is easy to do. It’s extremely hard but try to challenge yourself to take the high road. I’m choosing to find what my new location has to offer because otherwise I will make myself a miserable person. There has to be interesting people and places to visit here too- I just may have to look harder than I thought to discover them.
I come with literal baggage.
My friends that have helped me move can vouch for that. I’ll admit I have a hard time letting go. I even have one friend who was visiting me in Michigan who helped me box stuff up and then ironically she visited just shy of a year later in my new town and got to help me unpack a bit. I don’t need a hoarders intervention yet. We don’t have any pets and I throw away garbage. My garage is currently filled with boxes but that doesn’t count because I just moved in less than a week ago.
When I moved to Michigan I had not seen the property, then just shy of a year later we moved to my inlaws basement and put the rest of our stuff in storage and then a year later we moved to Evansville and I did not see the property until a few days before we moved in. So to my defense it’s hard to let go when you don’t know where you are going and what you will want or need.
Now that we are in a new space I will be working on that area that needs improvement. I am definitely over sentimental and it comes from generations of “just in case” people. I also think that having a creative mom and now pinterest creates more guilt for me because people make the coolest stuff out of items that would otherwise be on their way to goodwill.
All of life is transition. We are constantly getting prepared for the next thing. Ready or not, the planned and unplanned will happen.
I’ll leave you with this thought from Shauna Niequest because it spoke to me and is worded so beautifully.
“Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we’re not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard. It seeps in like smoke or vapor even when we barred the door against any last minute changes, and it moves us to different countries and emotional territories and different ways of living. It keeps us moving and dancing and watching and never lets us drop down into a life set on cruise control or a life ruled by remote control. Life with God is a daring dream, full of flashes and last minute exits and generally all of the things we said we’ll never do. And with the surprises comes great hope.” Shauna Niequist …
So no matter what season of interim you are in, I hope you are filled with great hope of what’s to come.