Moving and starting another phase in your life can be wonderful and rejuvenating. It can also be very high on the stress scale, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make this transition easier by preparing yourself, mentally and physically.

People who move around a lot are probably “pros” in being transplanted from one place to another. Military families, those whose careers depend on it, and mission volunteers are just part of the population that has to start over at a moment’s notice.

Years ago, we relocated because of a job opportunity. Now, we are entering another chapter of our life, so we moved once again. This time, it was for different reasons: retirement, downsizing, and a change of climate. We were looking for less responsibility and a more manageable space.

Whether moving across the street or across the country, we have an emotional and spiritual attachment to our current living arrangements. Our roots run deep because we have invested so much time and effort into our home, family, and friends.

Here are some observations that have made our moves a little bit easier.


Try to be patient. I wanted to sell our existing home immediately in order to purchase our new residence. Unfortunately, bankers, lawyers, and the real estate market had their own timetable.

Wait and use this time to decelerate. You will be busy soon enough. Build up your energy reserves and pace yourself. Things will fall into place eventually.


Logistics, logistics. Let everyone involved decide what is best for him or her. Gather their input and try to accommodate their needs.

Years ago, we moved a long distance. My mom was 75 years old. We decided to try to find a mother-in-law apartment attached to the new home.

My daughter would also come with us and attend a nearby university. My son would stay behind and live in my mom’s (now unoccupied) house. Of course Jessie, our dog, would have his own doghouse.


Visualize what you’ll be doing five years from now. See yourself in a new part of the world, touring new cities, states, or neighborhoods. Maybe you will go into assisted living. Think of having tea or coffee at your new friends’ places. What activities will you join?

Turn your move into an adventure. List things you want to do once you have unpacked.


Don’t “what-if.” Make a decision and stick to it. Indecision will unsettle you. If you make the wrong one, you know you have the resources to rectify things. If it is the right one, pat yourself on the back.


Treasure your old surroundings. I looked at my living space with a new awareness; I took photos of people and things I never wanted to forget. I dug up some plants I wanted to transplant into my new yard. When they bloomed in my new home, I thought of my old “roots.”


Acknowledge the people you are leaving behind. Friends, relatives, and neighbors wish you good luck, but some don’t want to see you go. They are the ones who are unhappy you are leaving. Assure them you will keep in touch, and when you get to your new location, actually follow through.


Bring along a mover’s box. Put in it a utility knife (to open boxes), glue, a hammer, and nails. Also include scissors, extension cords, drills, pliers, and measuring tape. Cleaning supplies, a vacuum cleaner, and trash bags are a must. A first aid kit might come in handy.

Don’t forget to label all boxes so you or the movers know immediately where things belong. Bring along comfort food — soup or sandwich, granola bars, yogurt, anything that will give you energy.


Once you make the move, be “there.” It is OK to be homesick, but you can speed up the development of contentment by quickly getting involved in your new community.

Remember, you are the new kid on the block, so it might take some effort. Take advantage of church functions, bowling leagues, anything that motivates you. Volunteer to be on a committee for the library or food bank, etc.

When meeting new people, be positive. Focus on what you like about their town and not what is lacking in the area. Soon, you will experience the warm feeling of belonging.


Pamper yourself. Everyone in your family will have a different perception of “the move.” They will probably lean on you for direction and stability.

Try to keep your inner sanity by taking good care of yourself. Make time for spiritual reflections, get plenty of rest, and eat properly. Above all, bring your sense of humor along.

We have all heard the saying, “When one door closes, another one opens.” When your doorbell in your new home rings for the very first time, be sure the welcome mat is out and the coffee pot is on.

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