Tip for Surviving Change


This could be a picture of our belongings heading west to Texas on a South  Hills Movers truck, presumably before the end of the  year.  Moving is complicated and stressful. When I added things up on the classic Holmes and Rahe stress scale, I found that I’m not far from the boiling point of 300.

  • I have a seemingly impossible To-Do list to get the house ready to list with a realtor by our target date.
  • I’m having to pull away from my cherished writing groups and classes and other friends.
  • I’m already missing the home I’ve loved for thirty years.
  • My mate of 52 years baffles and enrages me at times (and keeps me laughing at others).
  • And ye gods, the thought of finding the right house in Austin and getting the deal done in a timely manner and all the work of settling in … YIKES!

Of course there’s so much to look forward to:

  • More time with granddaughters and extended family there.
  • Connections with new friends (Austin is a friendly place).
  • A chance to reboot writing groups down there – or not.
  • A lovely new home to settle into.
  • Fresh chile and tortillas easily available.
  • Amazing food stores.
  • The impeccable service of South Hills Movers.
  • Finding things I’d forgotten I have.

Making a list is daunting. At this point, pressure and unknowns far outweigh the obvious rewards. It seeems like I keep falling off my raft as I go through this white water stretch on the river of life.

So what’s a person to do when it’s time to start packing, hold a garage sale, fill out a couple of reams of forms to list and buy a house, schedule inspections, fix a few more things … ?


I say I don’t have time to write. But I make time to journal. Journaling is like taking vitamins. It’s good for your health. Even ten minutes is good. I need to rest my back anyway. I journal to keep track of what’s going on. I include lessons learned: tips for cleaning, mistakes to avoid, messes I found and more. I journal about frustrations when I’m convinced that yesterday  we agreed to do X, and today he informs me that’s not even close… it all goes in the journal, along with dreams of how things will be when we get there and gratitude for the kindnesses of people here.

I would not be surprised to find that journal turning into a memoir of this move. But not soon. I need time to process. And right now I must climb back on that raft and load a few boxes. I’ll keep you posted now and then, but not often.

Write now: Write about a stressful time in your life and how you survived. Share a few tips in comments.


Karen Walker said...

Oh, Sharon, that is a lot of hard, stressful work and decisions to be made. Journalling will save your sanity. You must make time for it. Also, have one master list and each day, try making a daily list of priorities for that day from your master list. If you keep looking at the whole picture and don't chunk it down, you'll make yourself nuts. Good luck!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Thanks Karen. An angel of a friend is coming with her husband to float us through having a garage sale in a couple of weeks. That will help a lot.

jzr said...

Sharon, I am familiar with all of this. I moved many, many times starting as a child and find it the most stressful thing ever. I wish you best and know that journaling is a huge help.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Thanks for the confirmation and encouragement jzr. One huge challenge is timing: if we wait to buy a house until this one is listed, we may not be able to close on our house before this one closes and we need to be out. Work out that dilemma with the need to have this one sold before Halloween when the trees are bare and things look dreary and ... We agreed this is like working a 1000 piece jigsaw with all the pieces upside down!

Jerry Waxler said...

Ooh, this sounds so huge, Sharon - moving from one city to another means all kinds of changes. One of the things that I have grown to appreciate is the enormity of major life transitions When I look back on them from distance, I can sort out what was going on, and see the essence of courage and resilience that I followed to get from before to after. This method might help you go through it - if you apply your imagination to seeing the character waking up, ready to tackle the next challenge, and the knowledge that it is heading in the right direction despite all the obstacles. In addition to these creative methods, there are always the social ones, such as reaching out to friends for support. Thanks for keeping your blog family informed. Yay Sharon. You can do it. (I like all these tips about lists - I want to do more of this myself.) Best wishes, Jerry

Sharon Lippincott said...

Thanks for the encouragement Jerry. Earlier moves were SO much easier. The X-country ones were much easier. We had movers do all the packing for them, and didn't have to sort a thing. Relocation costs were handled by employers. We didn't have a house on the first one, and sold to the company for the second. Moving across town ... that was a gradual process.

I appreciate your visualization suggestions. Thanks for the reminder. I can adapt.

Reaching out to friends -- at this point our friend base is more decrepit than we are. I especially like the advice of one: "Quit being a Jill of All Trades and hire yourself a hunk!" That sounds like a plan. Calling all hunks! Anyway, in spite of being decrepit, one couple is insisting on coming here for two or three days to organize and help manage a Moving Sale in our garage. True angels!

Marian Beaman said...

I noticed that your list of positives outnumbered your negative points. Whether that was intentional or not, it's a good sign. We have lived in our home for 38 years and have plans to down-size largely because of our age. When we move we are moving a household + my husband's art business. STUFF to the 10th power!

I look forward to seeing excerpts from your journal (tiny bits of course!) inspired by this major shift in lifestyle. All of this will resonate with readers - guaranteed! (Austin is a clean, forward-thinking city, at least when I last visited. You'll like living there.)

Sharon Lippincott said...

Marian, I suggest you start working on that downsizing soon. It's likely to take far longer than you think -- depending on personalities involved and whether he plans to keep his business active or retire. Me? I could have been out of here in a month if it were only MY stuff ...

lourdes herold said...

I like your approach of pointing out the yucky and wow parts of moving. I could apply that to some changes I am going through in my life like retitrement. And journaling. That is a thought. Take it easy and think of yourself this time. You have been so generous to others including our writing group.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Thanks Lourdes, I often find lists helpful in sorting things out, in making the sense of life required by memoir. Memoir can cover only tiny slices of life, a small fraction of what we seek to understand, journal entries and lists are a great way to sort out the rest.