I’ve Moved Houses 20 Times in My Life
Growing up, I was used to moving houses every year. The question I’d ask is not if we’d move houses again, but when, and where to.
Unbothered by the logistics behind it, moving houses to me was exciting. We’d pack up all our shit, and leave the old behind for something new. A new adventure. This fun starts to fade when you have to do the heavy lifting yourself as an adult, and I mean that in the most literal sense.
Being in motion used to be a constant factor growing up. It was what I was accustomed with and what I felt comfortable with. Everywhere I went, I was always the new kid. Sometimes that made me a target for bullies. Other times it made it easier to make new friends.
Friendships would naturally evolve, with local kids from the neighborhood, or classmates at school. Knowing that I’d be moving again soon, I didn’t attach too much value to these kid friendships. I have some fond memories, and I remember some of the names of these childhood friends. But, by the end of the year, I knew I’d probably have to leave them behind anyway. It didn’t bother me much. As a shy, introverted and creative kid, I was very capable of entertaining myself.
During my early adulthood I was the one who continued the chain of regularly moving between houses, flats and student dorms, and I did this with ease. The folks taught me well.
Looking back, having moved houses so often made me flexible.
Seeing how the folks moved houses showed me how I prefer to not do it, and that is by stashing items in garbage bags or moving boxes without sorting them out beforehand. First of all, why keep so many of these items that none of us have looked at in years? Secondly, moving is already a drag. Having less stuff will save everyone effort, because all those things that just got thrown into boxes will have to be sorted out and re-homed.
It turned me more into a moving minimalist
Moving light = best. I don’t need to drag every single piece of furniture to the new place, just because it’s “already there”. If it’s not essential, it doesn’t need to come. If I needed to move tomorrow, I’ll be there with ready to go with three bags max.
Furnishing on a budget
I’ll make a new place look and feel like home within a week, and on a budget. Living in rentals means there’s no need for me to pump thousands of euros into the place, especially if I only intend to live there for the short term.
Unafraid of change
What happens in your youth molds you. The constant moving around as a kid made me unafraid to pack up my shit and start a new life elsewhere.
Friendships sort themselves out
I couldn’t care less about not being close to my friends or “leaving them behind”. You cannot overhaul your life plans just because your current friends don’t want to move to a new place with you. If I look at people from my high school, they are now married and are raising their kids in owned property. Most of them bought a place close to their parents, or in their home town that some never even left.
Don’t be afraid to lose friends. Whether people are physically closeby or not, your relationships will sort themselves out. When you move, you might stay in touch with that best friend from Kindergarten for a while, but slowly lose contact as time passes by.
Nothing in this life is eternal. Some friends are meant to accompany you only for a short while. Others stick around longer. Don’t hold on to them for dear life. They are building their own life, and so should you. If you can do that while staying in touch, great. If not, also great. It’s just how life goes.
It made me appreciate stability
I was always amazed at how others grew up in the one and the same house, in the same place, around the same people throughout their childhood. This life was unimaginable to me. I didn’t think of it as better or worse. It was just different.
At several years and counting, the apartment I live in now might be the longest time in my life that I’ve lived in the same spot. After a lifetime of moving nearly every year, I started to love aspects of civil life and living in my own place, where I can recuperate, without a new logistical nightmare sticking its head around the corner. And until a new experience causes new cravings to bubble up towards the opening of a boiling pan that will overflow if left unattended, I will calmly stay put.
It felt like coming down from a minor addiction, and I’m glad these cravings to destroy everything I built up in one place to exchange it for the next have calmed.