So far, all of the major milestone moments in my life have been accompanied by a significant move. I have to laugh, because I learned in AP Psychology that certain life events are identified as being significantly more stressful than others, even if they are “good” stress, and it seems like I don’t take on one at a time; I like to double or triple them up. Go big or go home, right? (Check out this site to see how stressed out you are.)
Notice that change in residence is worth 20 “life change units” out of 100. I personally think it should be more points, considering all the changes that go along with a move to a new home, but there are several ordeals at the top that have got to be worse (let’s hope none of us ever find out). Adding a move to another life event or three might feel daunting, but I have found it is best to take on the challenge and welcome it as a blessing disguised as brown boxes and clear packing tape.
Here is my own track record:
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION
Two weeks after graduating from high school in Maryland, my family moved to Florida. Two months later I moved to the University of Florida to begin marching band camp. My Grandpa suddenly passed away a couple of days later and I traveled back to Maryland for the funeral, then flew back to Florida and attended my first college classes the next day and learned my first college halftime show in one practice (thank goodness it was simple).
End school (26 points) (<= Peace out, high school!)
Change in residence (20 points) (<= Hello, sunshine!)
Change in schools (20 points) (<= Go Gators!)
Begin school (26 points) (<= Where are my classes?! When are my classes?!)
Death of a close family member (63) (<= I miss you, Grandpa.)
Grand Total: 155
After completing my M. Ed. at UF (before officially completing it, actually), I moved to Inverness, Florida to teach high school history. I started work at the end of July, graduated on August 7th, and had my first day with students on August 9th.
End school (26 points) (<= What do you mean, I’m not in college anymore?)
Change in residence (20 points) (<= This county doesn’t have a Target?! Panera?! Five Guys?! Chipotle?! Kohl’s?! A bookstore of any kind?!)
Change in working hours or conditions (20 points) (<= Employment is nice!)
Change in financial state (38 points) (<= Paychecks are the best!)
Change in social activities (18 points) (<= I suddenly didn’t have many.)
Grand Total: 122
My husband and I married each other on June 8th 2013. Following our honeymoon we lived in Drew’s apartment in Miami. At the end of June we moved into the spare bedroom at the home of his very wonderful and gracious friends as we waited for news about Drew’s job transfer. When we got the go-ahead, we packed up and drove to Dallas where we stayed in a hotel for a week and half, then moved to a hotel in Arlington for five days, then moved into our apartment with the help of my amazing father who drove all of our junk from Tampa to Arlington. (There’s your little nod, Daddy. Happy?)
Change in working hours or conditions (20 points) (<= Bye, bye, CHS.)
Change in residence (20 points) (<= Inverness to Parents’ House)
Marriage (50 points) (<= Mrs. Smith is in the house!)
Vacation (13 points) (<= Honeymoon!)
Change in residence (20 points) (<= Parents’ House to Drew’s Apartment)
Change in residence (20 points) (<= Drew’s Apartment to Friends’ House)
Change in residence (20 points) (<= Dallas Hotel)
Change in residence (20 points) (<= Arlington Hotel)
Change in residence (20 points) (<= Home, sweet home!)
Grand Total: 203
Despite all the addition I just did, this post isn’t really about the points. There are no awards to be earned here, but it is interesting to quantify stress this way. I don’t add up these things on a daily basis, of course, but years later, I can look back at all the stuff that was happening in my life and be pretty proud that I came out on the other end relatively sane. I think. You tell me.
Anyway, this has been a very looooong digression. My POINT here is that I am thankful that God placed moves in my life when other big things were going on; I think moving ended up feeling less like a big deal and simply part of the natural process of whatever else was happening. In a cool way, these many re-locations serve as a clear break in each chapter of my personal development. There is no doubt in my mind that I grew up in Maryland. I went to college in Gainesville. I taught 11th grade U.S. history in Inverness. Now, I am married and I live in Texas. For people who prefer compartmentalization, follow my example and you will be happy as a clam.
Admittedly, moving and unpacking and making new friends are added inconveniences when you are trying to start college, or a new job, or a marriage, but it has made all of those experiences more intense and significant to me. I know that I learned more about myself by moving around than I ever would have if I had stayed in one place all of this time. As a kid I imagined that I would always be able to go “home” to my parents’ house in Maryland, but I have since realized that it is okay to move, to form new traditions, to feel love and loyalty to more than one “home.” I don’t know where the future will take me, but when I find out, I am pretty sure my cynical response will be, “Oy ve! We have too much stuff to put this all in boxes again!” In the end, though, I will let optimism prevail, “Move on!”