I’ve recently decided to move from my home in Tennessee to my brother’s house in Illinois, and as I was going through the process of making this decision, I went online to find out if the steps I went through emotionally were normal. I got nothing. No, that’s not true. I got a bunch of articles on what to do when you’re moving. Boxes, packing, how to fit it all my car. Nothing I got actually helped me emotionally. I’ve lived in Tennessee my whole life. I have a job here, friends here, and most of my family is here. My college is only 45 minutes from my house, and I don’t have to pay rent. Oh, not paying rent is great. I have friends that left their parents two weeks after graduation who are struggling to make rent.
I lucked out. I like my parents, and they were in no hurry to get me out of the house. Not to mention, I do my own laundry, I never ask them for money, I pay for my own college, and I buy my own food. So deciding to move wasn’t really a search for independence. I have that. It was a question of whether or not I was emotionally ready to leave all I’ve ever known for something of which I was so unsure. So here it is, The Emotional Steps of Moving!
Step 1: Justification
The idea of moving has been brought to your attention, not for the first time. Now, you’re trying to justify it. It’ll help me grow as a person. It’ll train my family for me moving farther away. I can finally have pizza delivered to my house!
Step 2: Excitement
You tell everybody! This is happening! This is real! I’m doing it! Pizza at my door step!
Step 3: Doubt
Something happens. A friend or family member says something, and now you have doubt. Can I really do this? I have so much credit card debt. What about my dog? Will she be able to take this move? She loves the family so much.
Step 4: Anti-justification
You attempt to give yourself all the reasons you shouldn’t move. Too much credit card debt. The dog doesn’t know the neighborhood. She’s scared of children, and my brother has a baby. I don’t want them to hurt each other. I still have school. I can’t leave yet. This is insane.
Step 5: Pros and Cons
If I stay, I’ll always wonder about if I’d gone. If I go, I’ll always wonder if I should have stayed. If I stay, I can find a new job and focus more on my writing and my degree; I could even get my teaching license. If I go, the town feels like it’s five times the size of this one, and I wanna see what that’s like. If I stay, I’ll still feel like I’m stuck in a town where I have to duck under the stroller rack at Walmart to avoid certain people. If I go, I can have pizza delivered to me. If I stay, I’ll still have to drive fifteen minutes to pick up my pizza.
Ultimately, I had to decide if I wanted to make it or if I wanted to thrive. I know I can make it as a teacher, but eventually the job would suck the life out of me. I think I would look back thirty years from now wondering if it was really worth it: doing something because I knew I would always be able to find a job. Moving to Illinois, I would thrive because I would have to force myself to go out and meet new people; people who don’t bring up my sixth grade crush to ask me if I’m still in love with him. (MY GOD! WE’RE ADULTS! I WAS 12. IT’S BEEN TEN YEARS!) Another reason I would thrive is that my brother married my best friend, and the three of us haven’t lived near each other in six years. I always felt like I was growing when I was with them, and even now when I visit, I feel like I’ve grown as a person in that visit. I would thrive because I wouldn’t feel so pressed into the ground by the expectations of my home town.
Step 6: Final Excitement
This is the part where you tell everyone that you decided not to go with your backup plan, and you are definitely leaving. Putting in applications for jobs. Playing baby screams so your dog can get used to it. Going through all of your possessions and trying to decide what to keep and what not to keep and, in my case, what goes in your parents attic for storage and what goes in your car to go with you. This step brings with it a new determination, and the plan to move is already starting to solidify.
This is part one in a series of posts on moving. Thank you for reading!
Also all images and gifs are not owned by me.