Like many millennials, my 20s have included their fair share of moves, and I have a pocket full of moving-related horror stories to accompany my history of postal addresses. From the revoked zip-car membership after a scrape to the side of our rental truck, to the couch left on the curb because it wouldn’t fit through the third-floor apartment’s narrow door frame, my experiences make me cringe anytime I pass a UHaul on the street.
Even without various incidents, moving can be a hassle: It’s often expensive and time-consuming, not to mention emotionally exhausting as it necessitates goodbyes to friends, favorite coffee shops, and beloved routines tied to a previous home. But there are also many benefits of moving. Besides opening the door to new career, educational, and relationship possibilities, moving provides a fresh start (or, as one writer describes it: a clean slate), and thus the opportunity to establish healthy habits, learn something new, and refine our way of being in the world.
Here are a few ways that I’ve embraced the “fresh start” mentality in order to make the most of a move:
Establish healthy habits
So many of our daily routines are tied to our physical spaces, so it’s a great idea to take advantage of the new surroundings that a move brings to revamp our habits. For instance, after months (years??) of catching glimpses of my slumped posture in mirrors or windows as I passed them, I decided that moving was the time to take action against my slouched shoulders. I looked up stretches to improve posture and added a few simple poses to my morning routine. I could have started stretching at any point in my old apartment, but because it’s hard to establish a habit out-of-the-blue, I didn’t. By making morning stretches a habit from day one in my new home, moving has brought about a healthier me.
Learn something new
Several years ago, my husband received a manual espresso maker as a gift. I always welcomed a latte or cappuccino when he offered to make them, but for some reason, I never learned how to use the machine myself. Packing grounds, pulling shots, and steaming milk just seemed too daunting. But as we unpacked the espresso machine in our recent move, I decided that it was time to get over my intimidation and develop my barista skills. It’s satisfying to learn something new, but without the physical act of moving the espresso maker, I might never have felt inspired to learn and practice a new kitchen skillset.
My mom’s go-to piece of advice for new brides and grooms is to be careful what tasks they take on during their first year of marriage, because they’ll probably be doing those things for the rest of their lives. For instance, by filing our little family’s taxes for the first time back in 2015, I dubbed myself the household accountant for perpetuity, and by cleaning our bathrooms in our first week of living together, my husband has become the sole bearer of the toilet brush (I think I got the better end of the deal).
By the time we left our last apartment, I realized that my husband took our Boston Terrier on 95% of his walks and potty breaks, dispensed his medicine and fed him all his meals. There was no reason for this other than that it had become our routine, and I decided that moving was a good time for me to become a better dog owner and partner. I made a conscious choice to take our dog on at least one walk a day, and also to attend to his needs as I saw them, rather than pointing out to my husband when I thought he should be offering some form of care (it’s embarrassing to admit that I ever did this). Moving triggered reflection on how I operate in our family unit and helped me see that I can be doing better.
As ever-changing and evolving beings, we’re capable of establishing habits, learning new things, and refining our way of being at any point in life. But there’s nothing like a fresh start to motivate becoming better versions of ourselves, so making the most of a move by using the transitional period to self-improve is a great idea.