Our family made the cross-country move from Oregon to Michigan one year ago this week. Reflecting on this past year I have a few thoughts and lessons I have learned along the way. 1 Grieve the Losses Leaving is sometimes difficult and it's ok to admit it. One loss I had to grieve in our move was the kids' bilingual immersion school and the ethnic diversity of our town. That loss was hard for me and I just had to let myself be sad about it.
2 Embrace the New Life I have seen people move to a new church, school, or town and everything in their life is constantly about where they used to live. They may even keep their dentist and hairdresser that is over an hour (or a state) away! On the flip-side, I have a friend who has moved her family to multiple states and I always see her embracing their new location quickly. I'm sure there is a time of grieving, but she doesn't live there.
3 Laugh and Have Fun Finding the good, the laughter, and the fun is a good thing in life and an extra good thing when experiencing big change. The book of Proverbs says that laughter is a good medicine, and it is so true. A good laugh, some fun playing a game around the table, or a fun new tradition goes a long way in moving past the grief and loss.
4 Try Something New In our new location there are many new things to try and enjoy. We have taken full advantage of the snow (like Buddy the Elf) in our new home tubing, walking, sliding, building forts, etc. We've visited new restaurants and created new traditions. This adds to the fun and has helped our family embrace our new life.
5 Connect to the Community Every community - church, camp, or town - has its own uniqueness. There are festivals, events, and local restaurants that help in connecting to a new community. In our new Village where we live (about 25 minutes outside the "big" town) we have become well-acquainted with the two local restaurants and the last-minute-stop-and-shop Lake Ann Grocery, aka LAG. By doing simple things (eating and shopping) within our community we feel connected.
6 Build a Relationship I have changed schools, towns, homes, and states a number of times in my life and it is easy to keep relationships at arm's length. When I do this I truly miss out on an opportunity to meet some wonderful people. I also miss out on an opportunity to serve others. The pain of moving away from close relationships is real and difficult, but never having those relationships in the first place is an even greater loss.
7 Enjoy the Moment Be here. Be present. Don't let the seasons - snow, rain, sunshine, and storms - pass without your awareness. There is beauty, wonder, laughter, tears, joy, and pain to be experienced. Be with those moments. The life we have on this earth is short and to live extraordinary is to be an active part of each day.
I would love to have you share a lesson from your journey in the comment box below. You can also read Joe's (my husband and extraordinary companion on this journey) perspective by clicking here.