The Four Stages of Moving

Did you know there are stages to moving? I learned these about ten years ago, before our first move overseas. I have recalled them with each subsequent move, and I am returning to them now, as our family adjusts to move #5.

Even if you aren’t moving, knowing these might help you understand those who are moving or will move. Every person is different, so these aren’t universally true, but they are generally pretty accurate.

Stage 1: LOVE 

Also known as “the honeymoon stage”, this usually occurs the first few months. I am in this stage right now. I love our new house, love that we’re so close to the beach, love our pool, love the neighborhood. I am excited about the possibilities in our new church and new school. I am, of course, sad to have left all the “knowns” back in Tampa, but the “unknowns” are still exciting. This will last for a while. Then I’ll hit…happy boxes

Stage 2: LOATH

My daughter, Ellie, is here. She skipped Stage 1 and moved straight to Stage 2. She hates every single thing about our move. The school, she is sure, will be awful, as will the church. The new house is all right, but she’d rather be back in the old one. She misses her friends and her life. You might meet someone like this in school this year.  A sweet girl like Ellie who is just struggling to adjust to a move that she didn’t choose to make. Be kind and patient, and help her see this new place really isn’t that bad. But know, also, the worst is yet to come. Because after the “loathing” stage comes…

Stage 3: LEAVE

In this stage, you move past loathing to a desire to GET OUT. This usually occurs after a few months. It’s no longer new, no longer exciting. The stuff that you hated is just stuff. Your friends in your old town have moved on, aren’t calling you as much. But your new friends haven’t become as close as the ones you left. It takes a while for friendships to really deepen. You just want to leave. Sometimes, you want to go back to your old life, and sometimes you want a brand-new start in some other place – a place you can love. But, of course, that just means you have to start the stages all over again! Better to keep going, keep working, and get to…

Stage 4: LIVE1950s-new year-party

This usually happens by the end of the first year. It’s gradual, but one day, you realize that you think of the new house as “home.” You walk into school and church and have friends waving you over. You recognize people when you’re out at the grocery store and the mall. You get more calls from people you know than from solicitors. You never forget your old home or your old friends, but you learn to embrace the new ones. You belong.

Chances are, you or someone you know has gone through or will go through a move. If it’s you – be patient with yourself. All those emotions? They are perfectly normal. You WILL get through this. Be willing to ask for help, to introduce yourself to new people. If it’s someone you know, be patient with her. Moves are tough.

And remember, you can do ALL things through CHRIST who gives you strength! Even move.


1 Comment

  1. Johanna
    Jul 14, 2014

    So true! When we moved here the first time I ran into someone I knew I cried! Right there in the Walmart! Starting over is scary, wonderful, terrible, and exciting all at the same time! You’ve sufficiently scared me and now a moment of dread. The consolation is knowing God has directed us into this plan!
    Oh, and Ellie? As long as she doesn’t stand up in her class her first day and say loudly, “I hate this school and I hate all of you!” I think she will be fine! Yes. . .true story. . .

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