Now that we have our belongings and are getting settled I look back on how crazy the past 7-8 months have been. I think it was July or August of last year when we started talking about possibly trying to move here by the end of 2017. It was still a dream. Then when we came here for our yearly vacation in September and the stars seemed to align and what was a dream for the end of 2017 turned into six months and reality.
What we had to accomplish in those six months was pretty daunting and there was definitely a lot of stress that went along with that. There were days that I just felt so overwhelmed with what had to be done. And I had many restless night’s sleep from going through the to-do lists and trying to be sure we had thought of everything. We’ve moved so many times that I’ve been told that I should write a book about it. Bob’s friends have teased him for many years that when he gives them a new address they write it in pencil because they know he will be moving again. So, we should be pros at this, right? I would say we are but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t all become a bit much at times.
I come from a family of list makers. It is in my genes. My problem with this has always been that I get to the end of the day and look at my list and see so much that is not done and beat myself up over it. Bob always points out that I completed a lot of things that were not on the list. Evidently, my Dad used to tell my Mom the same thing. Like I said it is in my genes. What I try to do is write out a detailed list that way I will check things off the list, feel accomplished and it helps to breakdown everything that needs to be done so nothing is missed. We literally write a list for each room like the following:
- Take pictures off wall
- Fill nail holes
- Pack pictures
- Disconnect cable box
- Return cable box
It may seem overkill but not all of these items would necessarily be done on the same day so breaking it out this way helps. We also write out a timeline – a day by day list. This comes from our project management minds. The movers are coming to pick up the boxes on Monday, February 13th so we need to first work back from that date to be sure we are ready for them. We fly out on March 30th and work back day by day. There are some days and weeks that are crammed full because there are always certain things you can’t do until that time but then it needs to get done. There are days that nothing is written on because it isn’t crucial, but try and use the time to accomplish something every day.
Writing each item down helps to visualize the tasks, and then when each can be done, or has to be done. What needs to be done before the task can be completed, and how long will that take. Straight project management, but it will make life easier, and will result in less surprises or last minute rushes.
Every move is different. Moving overseas, interstate, or around the corner will present different challenges. What to take, what to dispose of, what you can take, and what needs the movers. When I moved to Australia in 1994 it sure seemed a lot easier than this move to Spain. Maybe I was just young and naive!
Even though it felt like we were sorting or packing every waking moment we knew when we just needed to stop. Most of the time this meant a bottle of wine out by the fire pit. Sitting by the fire has never been about ‘heat’ to us. It is where we tune out the outside world and we just relax. Talk about the stress, the emotions, and the exhaustion. Sometimes the best thing you can do is stop. Do something else. Believe me the task you are overwhelmed about will still be there but you will go back to it with a better frame of mind.
One of the things that happens each time we move is when we tell our friends we are leaving many of them react by saying, “we have to get together before you leave.” We hear this every time and I have two emotions about this. 1. We just don’t have the time to see everyone socially before we leave. 2. and most important – Why didn’t we all make the effort when there seemed like we had all the time in the world? Like I said this happens every time. We are just as guilty of not making the time as our friends. Life gets in the way. This is something that we are determined to change now. Yes, I know we have left so many of our friends and family back in the U.S. but the funny thing is that it seems we will see many more people here. Our daughter is coming from Australia in September. We have another friend from California who had already planned a trip to Barcelona in September but we will get to see him now. We haven’t seen him since 2002. The end of this month we are heading north of Barcelona to see a friend of Bob’s who is visiting. And of course we got to show Steve and Roz around in early April. So my message to all of you is…make the effort!
This may seem like an odd post but we have several friends across the U.S. that are going through moves for the first time in decades and friends that are making big life changes with both work and moving. I know the struggles they are going through. I want to share some of our knowledge with them and all of you. We have moved 14 times in 20 years. We have quit good paying jobs to follow a dream and we have also taken a job that we knew we hated just because it was our only option at the time. It is always just the next step. It isn’t the last one. You will get through this. It will be worth it. Remember what is truly important in life. I’m here if you need me! 🙂
I leave you with two quotes:
This one hangs above my desk: “Begin…the rest is easy.”
For all of you with big or small dreams and those of you who just want to make some changes in your life.
“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” Karen Lamb