I'm a woman "of a certain age" preparing to move from NYC to Austin, TX. I've started highlighting this experience. In my previous post, I discussed why I'm doing this, so feel free to refer to that. What's significant is what the process has been like and what I continue to learn.
First, the fun part. I set up a "bucket list" of things to do in NYC before leaving, and, wow, has it been amazing. I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge; I rode the Staten Island ferry both ways; I took a twilight tour on a Clipper Sailing ship at the tip of Manhattan. Gorgeous. I went to Brooklyn two more times -- one for pizza at Di Fara's ranked the "best" pizza in all of the boroughs and once to Coney Island to eat hot dogs at the original Nathan's on the boardwalk.
This week alone, I walked along the Hudson River and ate at an outside cafe with a new friend, went to the Planetarium and Museum of Natural History. I could go on and on.
Lesson: Do all the things you love, but realize that there might be consequences, e.g. weight -- up about 4 pounds. Yikes. Also, exhausting.
Second, the harder part. The actual moving involved packing boxes and shipping. This is not an easy task in a city like NY. We don't have cars. But, the UPS store across the street was wonderfully helpful and I set up an online account with FedEx Ground and they would pick up. By the way, I'm almost 70 and dealing with the packing was pretty demanding. But, I did it.
Lesson: Be inventive and figure out the best ways to make it happen. And, understand that when you ship everything (well, I didn't ship furniture; I got rid of it all), you have to live for weeks with just what can fit in a couple of carry on suitcases. Can I say "I'm sick of wearing a lot of things over and over?"
Third, the painful part. So, although I've spent lots of time recently with trusted and loved friends that I've made over the last few years, I've also felt others pull away. Leaving a place can be a tough experience. Some have requested one-to-one time with me, and I've done a lot of that, very willingly. Others have been offended because I haven't been able to. I threw a big party so many could show up, but some I hoped would, didn't. Some are very emotional with me and others are "stoic." Since I'm an emotional wreck, perhaps their approach is best. In the past few days, I've said "farewell" to many, and I'm in the very sad phase at the moment.
Lesson: Don't ever assume that any people handle leaving and separating the same way. Be open to however each person deals with it -- by avoidance, pulling away or wanting to see you a lot. Allow for each to express themselves as they do.
My final, and fourth part: I'm pretty scared about the next phase. I work for myself, will bring some work with me there, but definitely, am not ready nor able to retire. So, what's next? This is the scary phase. I'm putting my toe (actually my whole body) into the water and waiting to see what happens.
Lesson: This is where the "roll with the punches" part comes in, as well as the "allowing" things to happen piece shows up.
Overall, the privilege of reconnecting with old friends (I lived there for 20 years and raised my child there) AND especially living closer to my son and his love... That's the draw. That's the payoff for the challenge I've just put myself through. In just a few days, I'll be looking back and then will write about next steps.
Ann Fry is the Workplace Cancer and Crisis Management Coach. You can read her bio online. She also is known for helping individuals and companies reinvent.