Moving. The word alone elicits the image of cardboard boxes, endless hours of packing, heavy lifting, disorganization, inconvenience, change. Add on having to manage children and your stress levels are peaked.
But…moving means something entirely different to me. The word conjures feelings of excitement, adventure, growth, new friends, new places, and new beginnings. If I put aside the stress (the packing and the children portion of the equation) then moving is something I have come to expect and accept in my life.
I am no stranger to moving. My childhood was spent mostly in Northern California, but included San Jose, Fortuna, Forest Ranch, and Chico as my home. I attended six different schools growing up, each move facilitating the change. I also spent a few years in North Dakota, a place that holds fond memories for me.
With each move came new opportunities, new friends, and new experiences. I have compiled a list of reasons of why I am grateful for the places I have been and what I have learned to appreciate from moving.
A FRIEND CAN BE FOUND ANYWHERE
Making new friends and meeting new people is not a challenge for me. I would consider myself reserved, but I can hold a conversation easily enough and I feel confident in my relationships. Moving around as a kid forced me out of my comfort zone and I was forced to make new friends at every school I attended.
It taught me to be proactive in meeting people and expanded my social circle to those with different life experiences and beliefs than me, something I attribute to my ability to empathize with others. I may not keep in touch with all the friends I have made over the years, but they remain in my thoughts and had a deep impact on my life. A new friend gives us an opportunity to grow and learn something new about ourselves.
EVERY PLACE HAS POTENTIAL
Experiencing the vast differences between Northern and Southern California has given me an appreciation for both. I used to be terrified of coming south. I was afraid of the sprawling landscape of LA, I was afraid of traffic, I was afraid of the enormous amount of people. I’m no longer afraid and I appreciate it in small doses (haha I am grateful to be living outside of LA).
When I am in Southern California it makes me appreciate the quietness of Forest Ranch and miss the way I felt like I could hide away in the trees. It makes me miss the pitch blackness of a starry night; the quiet solitude of a walk. It makes me miss the cool rainy days I spent in Fortuna and the smell of the ocean breeze. It makes me miss the small town feel of Valley City, ND. Most of all when I am here I miss the comfort of my family. The distance between us is paved with endless highway and time.
On the other hand…when I am in Northern California visiting my family I find myself missing the familiarity of my new home. I miss the constant of beautiful weather, the palm trees that line the streets, a quick drive to the beach, or a weekend at Disneyland. I have come to love the place I feared. Fear can sometimes hold us back from where we are meant to be.
CHANGE LEADS TO GROWTH
Most importantly, moving has forced me reach deep within myself and face my fears. Moving has forced me to become more independent and proactive. Moving away from family with my husband and a nine month old did not scare me. I was excited that we would be on our own and that my husband took a great job.
When we came down here I very quickly realized that my old habit of never wanting to go anywhere or do anything by myself was not going to fly. I needed to learn the layout of my new town and I needed to venture out and establish a new village in this foreign place or else I was not going to make it.
In the nearly five years we have lived here I have become more independent, confident, and capable than I knew I could be. Moving here also strengthened my marriage as my husband and I have come to rely on one another. We are united in whatever comes our way and we are both open to new adventures.
I know there are the rare few out there that have lived in the same place their entire lives with lifelong friends and their family just a short drive away. For those folks…I used to envy you. But not anymore. If you have ever considered a move and hesitated, I would say to you: do not let fear dictate your life.
There is a big wide world out there to experience full of new people to meet and new lessons to learn.
What could you be missing out on by staying in the same place?