The finish line of my move is in sight. My apartment is vacant save for a pile of things destined for Goodwill, a couple of nonessentials, and cleaning supplies. Oh, and small herds of dust bunnies. My new home is full of boxes, Hefty garbage bags bulging with blankets and pillows, and furniture awkwardly standing about like someone who doesn’t know what to do with themselves at a party. There’s still plenty of work left to do, but for now I’m thankful that what I need is at least under the right roof.
On my run today, I thought about what I’ve learned (or, more appropriately, been reminded of) about moving during this adventure:
* Don’t make a mountain out of a mountain. Long-distance runners know this rule as “take it one mile at a time” or “break your race up into small sections, rather than contemplating the whole thing as you toe the starting line.” When you know a move is imminent, start the process as soon as possible — pack one box at a time. Fill one dumpster-bound or Goodwill-bound bag at a time. The same goes for when you’re in your new home, surrounded by boxes, all too ready to never smell cardboard again, ever. Recognize that it will take a while to get settled. Unpack one box at a time. Give yourself a break.
* Look up every once in a while. Moving and making a transition in your life are very exciting… and very time-consuming. The details, even if you go about them sensibly, can gobble up your time faster than you can say “change of address.” Remember that there’s more to your life than moving. For me, that means doing a hard-stop every evening, sitting down, and relaxing. It means making time to hang out with my friends, and it means I don’t let valued habits, like running or writing, fall by the wayside just because life is temporarily hectic.
* It’s okay to miss the old neighborhood. My apartment was next to El Dorado High School, and this time of year is when the marching band starts practicing on the back field. Packing boxes last weekend, I heard the familiar sound and realized I would probably never hear it again, and it saddened me. What I’ll miss even more, though, is the running. Living less than a mile from a 9-mile-long paved bike bath, and just a little farther than that from Albuquerque’s glorious foothills, spoiled me rotten. And while I’m really not that far from the foothills in my new neighborhood…what can I say? It’s just not the same. But that brings me to my next point:
* Explore your new surroundings! And what better way to do that than by running? You can find parks, playgrounds, public bathrooms (oh so important), and cool little neighborhoods, just by lacing up and heading out the door. It’s a great way to meet neighbors, even in post-run sweatiness. And yes, sometimes you’ll find a block with lots of large, loudly-barking dogs who look and sound like they maybe want to eat you. Just all part of the exploration process.
* Last but not least: keep an open mind and an open heart. I keep noticing sunflowers in my new neighborhood. Just a coincidence?