There is something quite exhilarating about new beginnings. It is a mixed roller coaster of anticipated “saudade” of what you will leave behind, and excitement for what is coming where daydreaming is almost a teleporting experience.
I am now in my 5th country! Moved this month to the Midlands in England from the rainy Wales. The reason: work at a new site for my company. It was a strange move, with lots of unknowns and last minute job demands that really didn’t allow the normal moving process to unfold. Didn’t have time to say goodbye to everyone, or know exactly when would my last night at my old house be.
When reflecting upon the subject, these are the consistent stages I face whenever change is on the horizon:
1 – The plateau
When all is too settled, the sea is flat, no wind, all is in cruising mode… but underneath a swell builds up, craving for novelty and bumpy rides. Calm seas never made a good sailor, they say. This is a very familiar sea I encounter after being in a place for a while. This plateau has a second phase called “the wait”. When you know a wave is coming, but you are unsure when and where it will lead. Time stops in this period. Personally, it feels like a limbo. Focusing on the current task needs becomes extremely hard, it takes a lot of mental power to stay conscious and not drift into a “wandermind” state.
2 Land on sight
When you know where and when you are going. The level of difficulty to focus on present life increases. Your mind goes from a wander state, into an investigation mode. New tasks start to appear on the horizon and some juggling skills come in handy. This is a short phase, I tend to immediately jump to the next one.
3 – The hunt
My favorite. Research, research, research, house hunting, town hunting. Despite the excitement, there is this subconscious certainty that all will be good. I usually let the places surprise me and not plan too much (which plays in my favor. I suck at planning!). Still the research of the new place and of the mundane tasks that you probably never realize anyway (such as, I need a house close to the gym), play some weight in the decision making of house hunting.
At this stage, the first instinct of the place to live is usually the right one. It happened to me the last 3 times. Still all the hunt in between makes it fun and confirms your initial hint.
4 – The shift
Again, my last house move was a weird one, but nevertheless, it still felt like the familiar paradoxal phase of extremes and calmness. It is surprising how quickly one adapts to its new surroundings. Must be the human nomad brain kicking in. Is like you feel at home only when change is present, but at the same time you embrace all the other changes you experienced. You miss some of those, but you do not wish to go back, for each change has brought you closer to some ideal, whatever that may be (haven’t figured out mine yet). Whenever you move, you leave something behind, a little piece of you is in the places you will probably never see again, and the friends you will speak occasionally, and you bring those places with you. It’s a nostalgic exchange.
The only downside of moving: packing and unpacking. It is amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in a single year. Maybe next time I will opt for a minimalistic way of life! However, my need for change has never reached the digital nomad way of life… yet. I’m still more in a “hermit crab” phase.
On a final thought, is not about new life vs old life, for each chapter is part of the same book, of your own story, and all of them are important trails that lead you here. Is not about running away from something, but towards your own quest. For me, the need for change is something deeper that I am not quite able to explain.