My friend Kristi recently reminded me of how upset I was when my family and I first moved to northern Wisconsin 14 years ago. She laughed as she recalled my story of when I got real homesick and would clean the house pretending that we were moving. Once I had tossed so much stuff in the garbage that our neighbor asked if we were moving!
Anyway, I decided to use this memory to help you get to know a little about my earlier years. Let me recall the emotional challenges of moving, and how I learned from moving cities.
Turn the clock back to early 2003…
My husband, our two children and I were living in the city where I was born and raised: Appleton, WI. Our kids were in grades 4 and 6 at an excellent private school and had gone to that same school with their friends since preschool. For just as long (or longer), I had known those friends and their parents.
I had a finely tuned carpool schedule with my close-knit group of moms for school and sports . Life was comfortable. I enjoyed the feeling of being settled, and parenting seemed to be less frenzied now that the kids were a little older.
Honey, great news! (he said)…
I knew that it could be coming, but I never really thought we would move from the city where I lived my whole life. Sure, people moved all the time, but not me!
Well that changed real fast when my husband, Ray, received a great promotion that required us to move 2 1/2 hours north to a small town in the northwoods. We broke the news to our kids and tears were shed.
I think leaving friends was the hardest thing for all of us. But we immediately jumped into house hunting and going-away parties which diverted our attention from our woes.
New home, new everything…
For several months – probably more like a year – joy was not what I was feeling much of the time. Sometime starting over was exciting and sometimes it felt overwhelming.
I realized there were many things I had taken for granted having raised my kids in one community their whole lives.
For example, I vividly remember the first time after our move that my daughter asked if she could sleep over at a friend’s house. Gasp! I didn’t know this friend nor the parents! To have my daughter at a sleepover, where I didn’t know the family, scared me silly. Thankfully, someone I had met and trusted personally knew the family where my daughter spent her first sleepover in the northwoods.
My biggest relief was that our children adapted quickly. They quickly made new friends and technology helped them keep in touch with old friends. It’s amazing how fast they grew roots in our new town.
Things are always working out…
I’m an introvert, so putting myself out there to meet new people doesn’t always come easy.
One day as I was unpacking in our new home, Jan from Newcomers stopped by to welcome me to the community. She looked at me and compassionately understood my very mixed feelings without me even having to explain. She told me about an upcoming Newcomers event, “Coffee in the Park.”
I decided I better take the opportunity to try to meet some people, so I slightly anxiously went to the park. That day I met two people who still to this day are two of my best friends. Rhonda had moved to town the very same day I had, and Marlene had moved about one year before us.
This was one of the first sparks of many joys in our new town for which I am so appreciative.
Time goes on…
It’s hard to believe we have now been living in the northwoods for 14 years. Our children graduated from both high school and college. My husband retired a few years back. I still work full-time as an Applications Analyst.
We love the slower pace of life here in the northwoods. Living on a lake is awesome and we are surrounded by beautiful nature. (See some photos in my posts, The Joy of Walking and Nature’s Amazing Benefits.)
Other than to say I wish I had known then what I know now about attracting joy to my life, I’ll save the rest of the story for a future post.
Can you relate? Or maybe you have not made a major move. Please share part of your story, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks!