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On the Move: Shifting Homes

packed boxes piled on top of each other

How many times have you shifted your home in your lifetime? Even shifting houses in the same city counts. Do you have the numbers of movers and packers on speed dial?

I have shifted houses about 22 times in my 41 years – as far as I can remember. This also includes coming back to the same place after a move. The longest I’ve stayed in the same house is six years, and the shortest is about seven months. I’d say this makes me quite an expert in packing and unpacking tasks. I’m very organised.

There are times when I wish I had stayed put in one place and developed a group of friends that have known me for a lifetime. On the other hand, the personal growth I’ve experienced because of all the shifting is immeasurable. I also feel it has helped me not get too attached to a single place so that I am free to follow opportunities for growth and happiness.

dog and cat in separate carriers at the airport waiting to board

Advantages of Shifting Houses

  • It’s an excellent opportunity to declutter. When you pack your belongings, every item from nooks and crannies come out so you can assess if they are needed or can be left behind.
  • You meet new people you wouldn’t have met otherwise. A wider social circle expands your understanding of yourself and the world.
  • You have a chance for new opportunities and experiences.
  • You gain confidence interacting with people from different places.
  • You don’t get complacent and settle for whatever is in your comfort zone. You go out and look for people and things you want.
  • You don’t get too attached to material things.
  • You are more prepared for changes in whatever form when it comes into your life.

Disadvantages of Shifting Houses

  • You leave behind friends and family you love.
  • Shifting too often doesn’t allow you to grow roots or feel settled. You’re always on the lookout for the next change.
  • It’s a pain to pack, unpack, find a place to stay, and build your community all over again.
  • If kids are involved, they need to be supported emotionally through the transition. Their school, playgrounds and friends circle has to fall in place as well.
  • We’ve also had to shift cities with pets (by air and by road). They are not seasoned travellers and it was quite stressful for them.

Of course, every situation and person is different. Some people are not well-equipped to handle significant changes or don’t have a support system to help them transition. On the other hand, people can get addicted to change and be restless all the time wherever they are.

As for me, I’ve always kept my options open. I can usually feel when a place has worn out its use for me and that it’s time for me to move on. The last time I stayed in a place for long, I had started to get complacent. I had to be coaxed to step out on my own. I had given up driving altogether and relied only on cab services. It took a forced move to another city for me to get back on my feet.

tired baby sleeping on a beanbag amidst unpacked boxes

When it was just me or my husband and I, it was much easier to pack up and leave – for a trip or change cities for better job opportunities. With a child, we have to think twice. We don’t want to uproot him too often and disrupt his comfort zone. So far, he’s shifted thrice in his five years. He was excited about each move, but we felt guilty for taking him away from his circle of friends. We have decided to wait for at least two years before we even think of shifting again.

Let’s see where the wind takes us next!

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