I moved around a lot as a kid. I was not a graceful and accepting child when it came to moving, either. Sorry Mom and Dad! Of course, my parents were right when they said that moving wasn’t the end of the world. The older I get, the more I realize how influential those moves were in shaping who I am and what I believe about the world. Now that I’m an adult, I’m insanely grateful for those lessons.
I’ve continued to move often (now by my own choice!), crossing the country with clothes and books piled high in the back of the car. Each new destination brings its own challenges, but I always fall back on what I learned during my first few moves. I had to learn to adapt to new challenges, stretch my introverted self to make friends, and embrace minimalism for the sake of my sanity and my Jeep’s limited cargo space.
If you’re considering a major move, I hope you’ll do it. Especially if it scares you. I’m sharing the three biggest lessons I’ve learned about myself from my cross country moves, in hopes it will inspire you to chase your own lessons. Spoiler alert: I learned that I’m capable of so much more than I imagined was possible.
1. You can handle any challenge that arises.
Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing, and there’s a LOT of unknown when it comes to a major move. Unfortunately, the challenges of your move aren’t going to solve themselves or disappear. Having car trouble? Find a mechanic. Can’t find the grocery store? Stop and ask. The longer you wallow in a state of fear and confusion, the more overwhelming your challenge feels. Handle it, and then celebrate the fact that you are capable of solving anything that comes your way. You’re going to feel like a superhero, promise.
2. Getting uncomfortable is key.
I’m a serious introvert, so meeting new people can be tough. It might not feel comfortable to put yourself out there, but that doesn’t mean you’re excused from the process. It’s totally normal to feel uncomfortable in new situations, and you should be proud. That means you’re stretching your boundaries and exploring something new. Isn’t that why you moved in the first place?
The sooner you get okay with being uncomfortable, the easier it will get. Own it, call yourself out, and bond with your awkward behavior with the person next to you. They’ll get it, and you might even make a new friend.
It might not feel comfortable to put yourself out there, but that doesn’t mean you’re excused from the process.
3. You’ll learn to reject “stuff” and embrace minimalism.
There are two components to this lesson. When you are packing up all of your belongings in cardboard boxes and shoving them into every square inch of free space in your vehicle, you’re going to question why you needed that entire boxed set of DVDs. Stuff can be a serious nuisance. On a deeper level, I also learned through the moving process how little my physical belongings mean about me or to me. The honest truth is that if I can live out of my car as I drive across the country, and never break into one of those boxes in the backseat, whatever is inside is probably not vital to my survival. It’s a huge relief to realize that all you need to survive and thrive in a new city is your mind — not the DVDs, clothes or mismatched dish set. Weeding your possessions every now and then is liberating, and makes room for more good things to enter your life.
These are the lessons I revisit when I move to a new city, or come up against fear and challenges in my current home. I would never have learned them without the forced circumstance of a major move, so for that I am grateful. I hope they’ll help you feel at ease in your new adventures, and I can’t wait to hear what you discover about yourself.
Are you in the process of a major move? What are you learning?
Images via Sara Forrest