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Moving from Your Home
by Dr. Dale V. Atkins, April 2007

You are about to move. If you are like many other people, you are and have been a nester. Over the years you likely have made your home into a sanctuary for yourself and your family, and as you anticipate a move, you may have a desire to cling to what is familiar, safe and loved.

So, how do you move from a place you've loved for so many years? A place that has been your haven... your comfort through difficult times ... a place you and your loved ones have filled with so many memories? The house is, in reality, nothing more then a building, but the memories you leave behind become the fabric of the home.

1. Give Yourself Room to Begin Anew and Grow - Touch everything that is there. Every item has a memory.. Give yourself permission to let go of things that are no longer useful to you and can enhance someone else’s life or have outlived their own usefulness and now belong in the trash. As you handle things, allow yourself to re-live each of those memories, one at a time. This is, in itself, a very important 'journey;' . . . one that you will carry with you as you begin the next chapter of your life.

2. Everyone Experiences Loss in His or Her Own Way - Remain aware that you are not the only one who will be feeling a loss. Your children and their families are also attached to your home. It has been a cornerstone for all of the people in your life. Their memories and connections may be difficult for them to give up. They may be hesitant to share their feelings with you, for fear of making your sadness deeper or for bringing up feelings that you chose not to share. Younger children may have difficulty comprehending the 'why' of it all (needing to leave a home because of a divorce, financial reasons, "downsizing", or a desire for a change, etc.)

3. Make this Move with Grace - Attempt to put on a happy face and forge ahead. Hopefully you will grow from this experience. Allow and accept the moments when your heart is filled with sadness. Do some of the “moving” by yourself so you can say a proper goodbye to your home and take with you the cherished memories. Take photos of the spaces you loved, which brought you comfort and refuge. Understand which elements of these places you may be able to recreate in your next home (a place with lots of natural light, a view of a garden, an eat-in kitchen.)

4. Allow Yourself to "End" the Relationship with the House - Having experiences is what living in that space was about. Understand and appreciate that moving on is useful. This house served you well during one period of your life and now your needs require you to have another living space.

5. Prepare Yourself to Feel Attachment - Any house can become a home. Detaching allows you to recognize your value in creating your home wherever you are. Bring friends in to share in your memories of the place and let everyone have a chance to share some of their memories of this house. Walk into every room, closet, space and recall something about that space and say goodbye.

Moving forces you to look at your life along a continuum. You are about to start a new chapter. Close this one in the way that is the most comfortable and complete for you.

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