Untucked: The trials and tribulations of moving | AspenTimes.com

Untucked: The trials and tribulations of moving

Barbara Platts

There are many kinds of people out there in this world, but I’m quite certain we can all agree on one truth: Moving is a real pain in the ass.

No matter who you are or what you do, it’s hard to escape the need to move at least a few times in life. Usually the reason for a change of residence is exciting. Maybe it’s after high school graduation when we head to college. Then there’s that first apartment transition, when we feel like an actual adult for the first time. We often change locations for work or maybe we upgrade to a bigger place if/when we get married and start a family. Changing homes can be a really rewarding experience, but the process of getting from point A to point B is one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

As I write this, my calves are still burning from the last several days of loading and packing, then unloading and unpacking. My boyfriend and our pups are calling a new place home, which is wonderful, but the stress it took to get us all here most certainly stole some time off of our lives.

Moving frequently is a problem that many Aspenites — particularly young ones — face. I’m sure that most of us would love to stay in the same place for years on end, but oftentimes there are obstacles that make that impossible. Rent prices increase; homes get resold, torn down or remodeled; an affordable-housing unit gets altered; or maybe a pet gets adopted. Whatever the reason, the transient culture of Aspen often plays into the need to move frequently, whether that’s within the valley or beyond. That need to move can add more stress to our plates, particularly because we’re often at the mercy of Aspen’s ridiculously expensive market conditions.

The effect moving has on humans is a topic of interest for therapists and psychologists because there are so many emotions — both positive and negative — surrounding the process. In a New York Times article about the stresses of moving that came out a few years back, a Manhattan psychoanalyst said that we, as the movers, often focus on the external parts of the act. We worry about the little things like having enough bubble wrap and packing tape or freaking out about how many pairs of shoes our partner has. But the feelings of change and the potential altering of our own safety are the things that are really gnawing at us internally, whether we realize it or not. A way we remedy all of these woes is by being near things that are familiar. A couple of studies conducted in 2012 showed that people often frequent chain stores like Ikea or Target after a move because it brings them a sense of comfort to go to places they know. We also prefer to be around our own material possessions as opposed to new or borrowed ones.

The last time my boyfriend and I moved from an apartment to a house, everything seemed to go wrong. We booked the rental truck for the wrong day and he had to handle most of the hauling of boxes and furniture because I couldn’t get off of work. We swore that the next time we had to do a big move, we would hire a professional moving team (for the sake of our own personal health and that of our relationship), but when push came to shove and we started looking at moving rates, we decided to try it again on our own.

However, this time was a bit different because we enlisted the help of good friends and family. This is often a good tactic for emotional support because moving can bring up strong feelings of loneliness, according to many psychologists. Having people around that love and support us made such a huge project feel a bit more approachable. All in all, the process of moving took us nearly a full week. We’re now mostly settled in at our new place, and the stress from hauling things around for hours and days on end feels like a distant memory.

No matter who you are, what you do, or even how much money you have, moving is always a grueling and painful process, both physically and mentally. But, like most things in life, it can be made a bit easier with support from loved ones.

Still, if I never see another moving box again, that would be just fine by me.

Barbara Platts does not plan on moving again any time soon. Reach her at bplatts.000@gmail.com or on Twitter @BarbaraPlatts. 


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