Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Moving out and moving on

Things have been a little quiet on the blog front over the couple of weeks whilst I have been preoccupied with sick kids and packing up our holiday house. It seems we are not the only ones moving house at the moment, every second blog post I read someone is packing up, must be the season.

One thing I think all us ‘movers’ can agree on, there is nothing fun about packing. You start out with great gusto but then get to the point where you are stuck between getting things done and needing to live so boxes become half packed, rooms are in a constant state of disarray and you find TV antenna cords and kid’s building blocks around every corner.
Beach house back yard
Moving house also causes you to reflect. Memories are dug up from the back of drawers and found in forgotten boxes stored high up in cupboards. As the house begins to bare its bones the home that held so many memories begins to simply become a house once more. You realise that although you can become attached to bricks and mortar it is the people the filled the house with laughter, tears, the sounds of celebration and joy. The memories don’t leave you when you take that one last look around the empty house, they are transported with you and can be called into your mind’s eye at any time.
 
Behind the curtains was a favourite place to play
I firmly believe this to be true as I am what you might call a ‘modern day nomad’, I have moved house 26 times in my lifetime (there could be a few more that I have forgotten about!) with majority of them being since I moved out of home. Taking this at face value I wouldn’t have attributed this constant state of motion as an ingrained part of my personality just a reflection of the circumstances I have found myself in. However as this move is probably one of the few that I am embarked upon reluctantly (you can read more about this here) I find myself questioning the reasons behind my history of relocating.
Down at the beach during winter
Obviously the frequent moves our family made whilst I was growing up had an impact on me, I became accustomed to not getting attached to houses and possessions, making friends and then moving on, settling into a school and then packing up again. I am certain this has influenced my frequent change of abode as an adult but it is also in conflict with another part of my personality which craves stability. Whether this is as a consequence of the moving forced upon me whilst growing up or not I find myself at odds. I like the idea of settling into a house, into a neighbourhood and putting down roots. I also don’t wish for my children to experience the stress of frequently moving schools but I also know that change is good. It is character building; adaptability, not getting attached to material things and knowing where your priorities lie brings fortitude, something I wish to instil in my children. So how then do you find the right balance?
I have also found myself somewhat concerned that this need for change is in fact an inability to feel satisfied with what I have and where I am. Although I am not sure if this is in fact the truth it does worry me that this may be at the root of my obsession with pouring over real estate websites and planning our next move. Lately whilst I scour the new house listings on a daily basis looking for our next address I have often paused to consider, “what I am really searching for”?
Beautiful beachside sky
Our house is not even four years old, it’s not small (a lot of people I know live in smaller and with more people), my only real gripe being our lack of backyard. But is this enough of a reason to get into more debt? To move from neighbours and a neighbourhood we love? With good parks nearby and still some room for the kids to play outside am I just getting sucked into the ‘bigger is better’ syndrome? And will a move to a bigger house and a bigger backyard guarantee that I won’t find myself dissatisfied and looking for the next ‘big move’ within a couple of years? I would like to say it wouldn’t, but honestly I am not sure.
Our society is based on wanting more. Everything around us is telling us that we should be striving for something bigger, something better. That we shouldn’t be satisfied with just ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ but to become the ‘Joneses’. That we will not feel fulfilled until we have the latest and greatest. In some respects this mantra is admirable. Wanting more from yourself, from life is a worthy objective but needing the latest TV, iProduct, car or house for that matter is unlikely to provide the sense of achievement and contentment we are searching for.
Beautiful blooms at the beach house
The groundswell, especially within my generation (Gen X), to a more simpler, slower way of life; where time is taken to cook, grow food and to spend quality time with family and friends is in response to the lack of satisfaction we are getting out of slogging it out 16 hours a day at work and spending our limited time off half comatose in front of the TV. I find the movement of a lot of families toward this type of lifestyle where priorities are refocusing on our relationships, our health and our communities to be exciting and in the right direction in my opinion. This of course does not mean we will be ditching our iPhones or Smart TVs anytime soon but the role and priority they take in our lives should be realigned.
 
Don’t get me wrong I am sure there will be many more moves in the future for our family but I want to ensure that we will be doing it for the right reasons. That I won’t be sacrificing the things that I value for a quick fix of the next bigger and better.  
Farewell little house
This latest move was hard and emotionally draining. But as hard as this sacrifice was it has allowed us to cement the priorities and values of our family and its allowing us to move on.

3 comments:

  1. The apartment we just moved from I had been living in for 6 years... the longest I'd been any place since I moved out of home. It was hard. It always is, I think. I homes tend to grow around us. But always there is the question... what else is out there...? And a move always has us looking back at what was, which I like, because we see how far we've come. 6 years ago, I was single and living it up. Also known as wishing for the life I now have. Life's funny like that. :)

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    1. Ha, yes you're right Sam, I definitely look upon the houses I had pre-kids with rose-coloured glasses!!

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  2. Such a meaningful post! I mean, there are so many posts and articles out there that concentrate on the the process of moving the things we own and so little that help you with the emotional side of things and the role that moving to another place to live plays in your life. Wonderfully written, thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for your comments!