Last week marked the two-year anniversary of the move from our house in Markham that was our home for 26 years. It was a big step to sell and relocate to a smaller SouthWestern Ontario city.
Moving was our choice. We down-sized to a somewhat smaller house, got rid of surplus things, and began a new chapter in our lives. We planned the move, took time to get organized, and took time to say goodbye to the people and places we valued.
The new house nicely accommodates our lifestyle and the stuff (furniture, books, clothes, household goods) we chose to keep. Settling in took time but, two years later, it feels like home.
The Hardest Part of Moving
It’s common knowledge that the hardest part of moving comes after the move is accomplished. Although we knew that we made the right choice to move, everything felt strange. We were tired but there was also an emptiness.
For the first few weeks, we stayed at our cottage and drove to our new house each day to unpack boxes, arrange furniture, and deal with re-location tasks. Looking back, this was a form of denial — we were clinging to something we knew. We avoided the reality that we had left a satisfying life for the unknown by living at the cottage where it felt like home.
Once we decided to start living in our new house, learning the idiosyncrasies of another house provided a few challenges. The movers had failed to properly secure the clamps on the frame of our king-size bed which made for a wobbly sleep and a near collapse of the bed the first night we slept there! The kitchen faucet refused to stop flowing necessitating a shut off of the main water line and an emergency call to a plumber. The batteries in the thermostat failed during a hot muggy day which meant that the air conditioning could not work until we found the correct batteries and replaced them.
Leaving friends behind was tough. Pangs of loneliness hit more than once. Sometimes life felt confused and disconnected as old patterns and routines were replaced. Shopping for groceries took twice the usual time with the adventure of finding things in unfamiliar stores. Finding doctors, medical specialists, a hair stylist, a car repair shop, and other service providers took time.
Because social relationships are an important determinant of health as we grow older, I focused on developing a social network as a priority when re-settling. I set aside the natural inclination of introversion and sought opportunities to meet people. I joined Newcomers’ club, joined a gym, joined the library, and went to meet-up groups. I re-kindled acquaintances from the 1980s when we previously lived in this community.
By accepting and extending social invitations, I’m in a bridge club, three book clubs, an investment group, and a knitting group. New friendships are building. Initially, trips to my new gym felt strange. Now, it feels like the new normal. Yoga practice is still yoga practice and aquafit class is still aquafit class. The instructors are different but the routines provide comfort and the classes provide socialization.
Proximity to our son and daughter-in-law was part of the motivation for moving, a goal that has been achieved. We are conscious of boundaries and privacy for our family but have regular family dinners. Every week, I try to pick-up my grand-daughter after school for a special outing. Last November we were thrilled to live close to our family when our grandson was born.
Exploring the unfamiliar surroundings of our new city has proved exciting. Walks in the conservation forest area behind our house bring sightings of deer, rabbits, birds and the occasional coyote. Exploring local restaurants is a good excuse to try new foods and to avoid cooking dinner. Becoming subscribers to the local theatre and attending performances with a group of friends has provided many fun evenings.
With time feelings of belonging, and rootedness have resurfaced. It’s impossible to link such feelings to a particular date or event. We know that we’re on electoral rolls as we voted in the recent provincial election at our local school. We’ve experienced outreach and acts of kindness from our neighbours. When attending local events, we frequently meet people we’ve encountered in other venues. Every week there are activities we enjoy. Gradually life has become as rewarding as in the past.
Making a life transition requires an amount of transformation. In terms of identity, I’m still the same person. Yet, I sense subtle differences. Before moving, I imagined future lifestyle scenarios, Negotiating the various changes needed strength, problem-solving ability, and a vision of a positive future state. Life isn’t perfect, but it is grounded in a solid home base with new connections.
Thanks for reading my post. Please leave a comment about your experiences of moving and adjusting. If you like my blog, please consider subscribing to receive new posts in your email.