I’ll be honest. There are times when we feel as if everything is “in flow,” and our radical move will be fine. We know it’s the right thing to do, even if the timing isn’t ideal. And even if we have misgivings about leaving so much that we love, in Florida.
We’ve lived in New Hampshire before, and loved it, too. Especially the Seacoast. It’s always had a sense of “home” for us.
Then… we have moments when this move seems terrifying.
I mean, really, we’re moving to New England. That’s over 1,000 miles away.
And who’d even consider such a move… and in icy, snowy February?
(We’re not as daring as this may sound. In fact, we’d planned an exploratory trip in January, but snowstorms and blizzards made that impossible. Now, with good weather or bad, our lease is expiring. We can’t postpone the move, even if this seems utterly impractical and risky on many levels.)
But, in a weird way, preparing for this move may be the best thing to happen to us in many years.
In a nutshell: decluttering was long overdue.
The importance of letting go
We’re giving away a lot of things.
- We’ve made over a dozen trips to the Goodwill Donation Center near us.
- Our furniture is going to a family that needs.. well, everything.
- Fresh and unopened canned goods, etc., will go to a food bank.
- And so on.
The process has been like peeling an onion. Lots of layers, and a few tears.
Each week, we’re willing to let go of more things that… Well, they were probably distracting us from our goals and dreams. (Okay, I know they were distracting us. I just don’t like to admit it.)
I’ll be honest: It’s seemed a little weird that each time we drop off another carload of stuff at Goodwill, we don’t look back longingly.
And then, arriving home, we look around at the newly empty spaces and we feel relief.
How did we reach this point, anyway?
Okay, this past, sleep-deprived year was difficult. We made poor decisions, and a lot of them involved buying things we didn’t really need. At the time, we’d thought they’d improve our lives, make us happier, boost our careers… or something.
A recent turning point was watching The Minimalists: Less Is Now, on Netflix. (I’m about to watch it for the third time, to keep the momentum going. Decluttering is a lot of work.)
Organizing is key
At this point, we know that our SUV will hold about 18 boxes if it’s packed to the rafters. Less if we make space for the vacuum cleaner, our Soda Stream machine, my laser printer and art supplies, suitcases, etc.
(Movers’ estimates were far higher than we’d expected. They say it’s due to the current shortage of truck drivers. So, we’re moving ourselves, and ruthlessly reducing how much we own. Clearly, that’s the Universe nudging us in the right direction, literally.)
As we declutter and pack, we’re ranking our belongings into categories like these:
- Can’t be replaced. (For example, my little grandchildren’s artwork. And my mother’s paintings.)
- Can be replaced, but for major $$$$ if we can even find whatever-it-is. (Like out-of-print books that I use for reference.)
- Inconvenient to replace, because we’ll need it right away in our next home. (Cookware, etc.)
- Can be replaced easily for $50 or less and… hey, when did we last use this, anyway?
Yes, we’re becoming that kind of organized. We have to be. There’s not much time between now and our moving date. I wish we could postpone this, but we can’t.
Facing the fear
Yes, we have moments of fear, wondering what in Hades are we doing…?
There are the middle-of-the-night, staring-at-the-ceiling moments, awfulizing that we’ll get to New England and nothing will work out.
My husband’s job will fall through. We’ll find no rentals we like and can afford. And then we’ll be winter camping and scavenging nuts and berries in the woods.
Or something. (As a friend jokingly reminded us, hey, it worked for Thoreau, right…?)
Then we pause and realize we made a similar move – from Houston (TX) to Concord (NH) – in 2008, and it worked out fine.
We can do this
That’s why my mantra is: It worked before. It’ll work again.
This time, we have more focused goals, like a quiet place to live. And being able to get to the beach at least once every two weeks. And go to the mountains, ditto.
For inspiration, I keep open the pages of Portsmouth & Coastal New Hampshire: A photographic portrait.
Every time I feel overwhelmed by this kind-of-crazy move, I look at a photo of downtown Portsmouth. That’s one of our favorite coastal cities in New England. It’s quaint and not too industrialized.
I envision my husband & me, walking along that brick-lined sidewalk, holding hands (as we always do), looking in windows, laughing and smiling. Those are some of our happiest memories.
In fact, as I’m writing this, that book is on the floor next to me, reminding me: This is where we’re going. It’s a place that we’ve loved, in the past.
And then I feel lighter and more confident. (Not wholly confident, but it’ll have to be good enough.)
There’s a lot to do between now and the end of the month. That’s just two weeks.
Keeping our “eyes on the prize” and setting daily goals… that helps. So do my homemade chocolate chip cookies.
This is scary at times, but we’re leaning into the exhilaration of moving back to a part of the country we love: Four seasons. White-sand beaches with icy waters and seagulls as companions. Chatty, happy, friendly people.
We remember the fun of regular street fairs and festivals in Portsmouth. Free concerts in the park, and – within an hour or two – an endless supply of mountain trails to hike.
And, of course – most important – friends and family.
We’re reaching for our dreams.