October 17, 2014

The Five Stages of Moving: Not Quite an Expert but Fairly Proficient

As any military child would agree, I am certainly no expert on moving. But on the other hand, I've done enough crying over mountains of half-filled cardboard boxes that I am at least familiar with the process.

Now, as familiar as I am with the whole "Fit Your Life in a U-Haul" game, I don't have a whole lot of advice on the actual cardboard boxes, other than pick ones with study bottoms. (Although some have said that you haven't really lived until you've scattered half your wardrobe over a snow-filled Chicago alley.)

I do, however, have a little more to offer on what happens after the cardboard boxes, once your stuff has been artfully strewn across your new living room floor. Specifically, I can tell you exactly what to expect once you've uprooted your life and relocated to an unfamiliar city or town, particularly if you do it completely alone.

And what I can tell you is that no matter who you are or where you go, you will always pass through the same five post-U-Haul stages of moving below.

1. General Chaos.
The first stage is always some degree of overall anarchy and disorder. Depending on how skilled you are, this can range from spending twenty minutes trying to find the mother effing can opener, to the horrific 6AM pre-work, pre-shower realization that you don't have a shower curtain. Don't worry though; this phase is usually pretty short.

2. Overall inconvenience.
This stage comes shortly after general chaos, once you've located your can opener and gotten yourself a shower curtain but before you're familiar with your surroundings. Although exploring your new neighborhood is often fun, you're still harassed with the knowledge that you need at least 15 extra minutes to go anywhere and do anything... just in case you take a wrong turn on your way to work and end up at the Aquarium. Again.

3. The Phase Where You Read a Lot.
This phase is always the hardest, once the initial shock of general life-upheavalry is over but before you really know anyone in your new neighborhood. The fine line between being friendly and being a creep often makes adult friendships hard to find, which leaves you a lot of time alone. Some people use this time to blog, some use it to try out Crossfit, and some sit in sandwich cafes reading Harry Potter. Unfortunately, depending on the level of your curmudgeon tendencies, this stage can last a while.

4. Tentative Comfort.
This stage often comes slowly but then hits you all at once. One minute, you're eating tuna fish on a Tuesday reading the Goblet of Fire for the tenth time and the next, you're shooting Fireball at happy hour after work. It's like you don't even realize you've made work friends until you're looking at them over a shot glass full of cinnamon whiskey.

If you give it time and wear deodorant, this stage will inevitably happen. Somehow, someway, whether a friend moves nearby or your work friends introduce you to their real-life friends, you finally start feeling like you belong. You've got your can opener, you've got your shower curtain, and you haven't been to the Aquarium in months. Now all you need to do is find a new job so you can start the whole cycle all over again.

HAPPY FRIDAY. I've been waiting all week to say that.
I'm linking up with Taylor and Helene today for #Blogtober14. Because I just feel like Friday looks better with a hashtag.