I believe in moving — piled boxes, wrapped furniture, 80 foot orange semi-trailer truck, cross the continent moving.
I believe moving is the foundation for a purposeful life and the creation of life long ties to others. Moving provides change, and while most of us do not embrace change; the only constant in life is change. I believe moving helps us remember that the only permanence in life is its impermanence. Too much of life is lived avoiding change and attaching to the illusion that everything can, will and should stay the same.
After having our third child, an absolute delight and an absolute surprise, my husband and I realized that the income of two teachers could not afford us a house, a vacation, or even a date night at McDonald’s in a state where the median home price is half a million dollars. So we moved: from California to Vermont.
The move has presented challenges that I never wanted nor imagined I could successfully face; after all I am a suburbanite. We live in what I consider a camp: the kind of house Ted Kaczynski’s lawyer shipped from Montana to California to prove that Ted, a.k.a. the Unabomber was crazy. The crux of the litigator’s position being that no sane person would live in such a home. As a flat-lander, I would agree with Ted’s lawyer. In addition to the house itself, I have also encountered the infamous Vermont cluster fly, much like a house fly, only on steroids. They live in the walls and when the sun comes out, so do they, to cluster inside on the glass. Our house had 40-60 on each window: so many that they couldn’t all fit on one pane and began to wander. When one ventured from the window into my brother- in -law’s mouth as he tried to sip wine, I lost it. Most battle these flies with vacuums, sucking them up as quickly as they appear; I called an exterminator, with these numbers I needed chemicals to win. I then spent 48 hours cleaning toxins and thousands of dead flies out of every nook and cranny. During this our eldest daughter was being examined for a life threatening heart condition that required a battery of tests and visits to Dartmouth’s state of the art facility.
Amidst all the changes, I found the one constant: the goodness of people. I not only had the most wonderful people from places where I previously resided (Napa, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Idaho) calling, sending packages, lending support; I have an unbelievably wonderful network of support in Vermont too! People cleaned up the flies, took care of our children, held our hands while we waited for test results. If but for the move I might have thought I was self sufficient and continued to take this goodness for granted. Moving reminds us of the human capacity to love and care for one another and creates the strongest human ties. I believe in moving.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.