Moving

My younger brother has a moving bug. Up until the edge of 33 he could count a different house for every year of his life. That's 33 beds in 33 years. Shifting back and forth from different towns and cities in different countries will do that for you. He loves it. And he starts to feel weird when he's stable enough to buy a fridge.

I'm the opposite. Moving makes me feel weird. I'm still not used to it, even after doing it in a big way at least 16 times in my life! I get nerves and jitters. I get stressed, angry and jumpy when I meet people for the first time. I come home tired and worn out after only two hours in new company.

My brother feels exhilarated, cosmopolitan and challenged by moving around. He enjoys the differences and the feeling of belonging nowhere but everywhere. I feel disrupted, unrooted and cranky when I move.
Wherever you are on the spectrum between me and my brother, moving takes energy and know-how to do it well.

There are two parts to moving, saying goodbye and saying hello.

Personally I'm terrible at saying goodbye. My usual technique is to get stressed packing up and to put all my energy into the physical details of moving. I pretend I'm not going to miss people and say only quick perfunctory goodbyes. Unfortunately, I get to the new situation and feel terribly depressed for the next six months and then spend a lot of money on counseling!!

A friend of mine* does it much better. Her process takes time and thought and starts at least two weeks before she leaves anywhere!

First of all she thinks about it. What groups did she find a sense of belonging in while in this place? Next she lists the individuals who were close to her or him she would personally like to encourage before she leaves. She then finds ways to tell them how much she appreciated that care and enjoyed their friendship. She sends cards, notes, photos or gifts or just takes them out for coffee.

The next step is to keep a database and get her friends contact details. She also gives friends a chance to give her a farewell message too -- by writing on a T-shirt, a Teddy bear or in a notebook. Then she grabbed the camera and takes pictures of the special people and places she loves.

Saying goodbye can be emotional. She gives hugs and sometimes will cry. Finally she remembers that goodbye is short for "God be with you". She prays and commits her friends lives to God.

Once the goodbyes are over, the hellos can begin.

*Thanks Kat!