We said we’d retired when we moved to our little corner of the Rio Grande Forest seven years ago. That was then.
This is now. I’m loading moving boxes for our seventeenth move.
After that many moves, I can relate to certain phases of any move. There are at least five phases.
When in the military, there’s was little control over where or when. In the civilian world, you can often choose whether to relocate. With either scenario, there’s always the WAIT.
You wait on the written orders. You wait for the official offer. You wait to share your news. Then the orders arrive. The offer comes. And, wham the enormity of what you face hits square between the eyes. You slip into Phase 2:
2. Feeling Overwhelmed
You question your decision … what have we done?
There are literally a thousand things to do. You must find a new house. Get your current house ready to list. Then there’s the packing. How will you ever get everything all done?
You may be thrown into a state of doubt for a while, but this phase is relatively short-lived. You put on your big girl panties and Just. Do. It.
Taking a bold forward step, you move into Phase 3.
You’re a professional, after all. You’re organized. You can handle this. You straighten your shoulders and begin sorting items by “need immediately,” “next season,” “garage sale” and/or “donate.” You pack – individually wrapping and labeling in bubble and newsprint layer upon layer of promise and hope.
Cabinets are looking empty. Treasures are boxed away. All is going well. Until your listing agent calls to say she/he wants to show your house to a potential buyer.
Yep, the same house where boxes litter every room, packing material is piled on the every available flat surface, and stacks of stuff are tossed to and fro awaiting the big garage sale or space in a moving box. Suddenly you’re into Phase 4:
You cram stuff into once empty drawers, you move boxes to the garage, you plug in a zillion air fresheners to kill the cardboard box scent permeating the entire house, you load the puppy into the car, and wave with a big smile at the agent and prospective buyer as you pass them on the street.
Unfortunately, this Phase 4 repeats often until the last box is sealed and loaded on the moving van, or there’s a contract on your house, or you’re finally at your new location.
With each recurrence of frantic moments, the tears diminish. You reach a tipping point and accept that the move will happen, your stuff will get packed one way or the other, and you chill until you reach the final phase.
5. It’s Over
The moving van door slams shut. The driver pulls away. Your heart jumps into your throat. You’re are really and truly leaving. You did it.
You refuse to consider what waits at your destination – those boxes to unload, the doctors and dentist to locate, the quest to find a new church and meet new friends.
Unfortunately, if you’re military, your arrival at your new location is never permanent. You’ll face these phases again and again. If you’re a civilian, your arrival at your destination may or may not be permanent.
Me, I’ve given up on ever saying this is the LAST move.