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Moving is like your least-favorite relative, the inescapable one everybody tries to dodge. You know that at some point, be it on Thanksgiving, New Year’s or a seemingly normal rainy afternoon, you will have to face them. Not only will you have to welcome them knowing they kind of ruined your plans, but you will also have to put on a smile and pretend you have the energy to endure their unexpected visit. And just like that relative, no matter how much you try and avoid it, moving will inevitably catch up to you and put your resilience and patience to the test, and force you to declutter your life (literally and metaphorically).

I have met people who preach about the healing powers of changing your postal code and people who would never change their address even if you offered them a flying carpet in return. For me, moving is grey area – a huge pain in the neck that I know will eventually turn out to be alright. I don’t think you can either love it or hate it. This is why every move for me is the beginning of a new, short-lived, turbulent love/hate relationship. As I’m trying to put into words how I feel about this half-dreaded, half-adored universal phenomenon, I’m surrounded by brown carton boxes patiently waiting to be unpacked in what will be my fifth house.

I don’t know what the average number of moves in a lifetime is, but to me, five moves mean a rollercoaster of emotions, new possibilities, dusty drawers, forgotten memories and endless craigslist ads. From learning to be wary of basement suite in acceptable conditions to understanding that what really matters to me doesn’t fit in a box, every move in my life has taught me something new.

Here are 4 lessons my moves have taught me:

Letting Go

At the end of the day, a house is nothing but four walls. We make a home by living in those walls. By creating new memories and staining white carpets with chocolate chips while laughing at our friends’ bad jokes. Letting go of your possessions doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate them. Instead, we should channel our inner Marie Kondo and thank them for serving us during a time of our lives and ultimately treat them for what they are: just things.

Travel Light

Since every house is different from the previous one, there is definitely going to be the issue of storage space. Decluttering and deciding what to keep and what to leave behind is essential. I’ve gone through my drawers, wardrobes and cabinets and found things I had totally forgotten I owned. It sounds bad (I know) and I’m not proud of it. But, I found a solution with selling the things I hadn’t used in a long time and donating the rest to charity

Give Yourself Permission To Build A Life

I believe everything I said about traveling light, but I also think that “I’m not buying anything new anymore because I’ll probably have to move again in the future” is not something I agree with. Ultimately, we are trying to build a life, which can include buying an air fryer or a pasta-making machine. As long as I’m aware that I’m potentially going to have to part ways with some of the things I own, I don’t have to feel guilty about purchasing something new.

Keep A Positive Attitude And Don’t Panic!

Just like handling a bothersome relative, having a dynamic and positive attitude is definitely helpful to weather the storm of moving. Carrying all those boxes and going to Ikea for something other than the meatballs is excruciating, but deep down that feeling of novelty mixed with the curiosity of seeing how good your Christmas tree will look in your new living room is exciting.

Young woman with  city skyline behind
Photo by MJ Atang

Long story short, it doesn’t matter if sometimes I hate it and sometimes I love it. Moving will always be a defining moment in my life. As everything, all we can do is live through it and hope to learn a trick or two along the way!

Ally is majoring in Linguistics and minoring in International Studies. She loves to do yoga, pilates and take long walks down the beach. When she’s not studying, she’s probably baking a chocolate cake!
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