One of the most challenging aspects of relocation? Repopulating your day-to-day world after a major move. Oh, the time that can take! And if you’re relocating at 50, 55, 60, or older?
If you’ve undertaken a major relocation as I have in recent months, finding yourself without helping hands takes a tremendous physical toll.
Sure, it’s easy to say that you should figure all elements of any move into your relocation budget. However, how many of us have massive moving budgets to play with?
And what about Murphy’s Law as the uninvited guest?
Even the best laid plans don’t provide for unforeseen circumstances like accident, illness, or a perfect storm of expenses — car problems, family issues, a new job or project that falls through.
For that matter, a weather event can cause significant delay in your plans, rendering scheduled resources unavailable to assist. And let’s get real. There is only so much aid you can reasonably anticipate from friendly neighbors.
So now what? What if your settling in process is oh so slow? What if even basic move-in activities are draaaaaaaaaagging on? What if you’re buckling under the weight of six weeks, 10 weeks, or 12 weeks of ferocious fatigue?
What if you feel like you’ve just crashed into your own personal brick wall? And that’s worsened by feeling down, down, down as you face difficulty meeting people?
Here’s a thought: Enlist one or more old friends to come and visit. Be flexible of course, but if possible, stagger their visits. Even if your new digs are a mess of boxes and heaps and insufficient sleeping space, true friends will do their best to stalwartly march onto the scene as reinforcements.
What else does calling on old friends accomplish?
If you ask me, it’s a challenge to fend off depression when you’re living in a chaotic environment, unable to progress in creating a semblance of order. This is especially true for those who rely on a helping with floor-to-ceiling boxes, hanging pictures, and offering suggestions on making sense of my space, I hope we’re making this a lighthearted and entertaining visit — for both of us. Time to catch up on each others’ lives, to enjoy an excursion or two, and to explore the local sights.
First, real friends show their mettle when they see that you’re struggling. They may hop on Skype to offer emotional support, or hop on a plane to offer company and muscle, or take to the road to do the same. Second, relocation reality is more wearing than we realize, both physically and emotionally. Relocating solo? Especially if you’re in midlife or older?
Yes, the freedom can be a heady sensation. In fact, the entire experience can be exhilarating at times. Yes, the ultimate prize — we hope! — will be worth it.
New adventures. New opportunities of all sorts. A more suitable lifestyle.
But the process?
Exhausting. So many new names to learn, to match to faces, to “master” as quickly as you can so they know you’re glad to know them. So many routines to establish in a new town, city, state, region, or country — from affordable markets to medical facilities to local recycling guidelines.
New rules in a new neighborhood, new rules in a new work environment, new climate! (Must I really buy a scraper for my car’s windshield and a shovel for the front steps?)
The loss of infrastructure we have relied on for years can be disorienting; replacing it can be complex and time-consuming — how to find local businesses that deliver when you’re sick; how to find a new mechanic you can trust, an accountant who knows her stuff, a dentist you aren’t afraid of; how to decipher (convoluted?) state specific procedures for a driver’s license, auto inspections, insurance, tags…
Any break you can give yourself from the stresses of starting over — especially on your own — is advisable.
These are lessons that I’m determined to keep in mind going forward. Even with the time this old friend is giving me, I know that plenty of resettling activities are yet to come. Certainly, I plan on making new friends! But intermittent breaks with longtime friends will enable me to re-energize my spirits, share cool discoveries, and strengthen long running relationships.
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