My grandparents are getting ready to get ready to move from their home of fifty+ years to a retirement community. It’s a big transition. Their new place will be small, and thirty minutes from the neighborhood they’re used to. They won’t have to cook as often. They won’t host family holidays or out-of-towners.
“It’s going to be an adjustment,” my grandmother says. “Big changes are so… odd.”
She’s right. Even transitions that we look forward to are disorienting: new jobs, new homes, having children. Adjustments take time.
What can we do to ease transitions? In the midst of new, make room for the familiar. Keep your favorite books on hand. Cook a favorite meal or visit a favorite restaurant. If you’re moving to a new area, check out the cultural activities you enjoy that your new town offers. If you’re starting a new job, use a familiar method to keep your schedule.
When I moved out of my parents’ house this summer, I felt comfortable in my new home sooner than I expected. As soon as I settled my things – books, clothes, pictures, cookware – I felt right at home. Now I feel like a guest at my parents’. None of my things are around.
Physical objects are important. Watching my grandmother plan what to bring to her new home reminds me how much comfort we get from our things. “I like all these things,” she says. “But we just won’t have room for them.”
My grandparents have never been minimalists. The house where they raised six kids has plenty of space for their things. Now they must minimize to downsize their home, and it’s challenging. It’s hard to let go of the things that have been your background for years! If you feel reluctant and emotional about big changes, that’s normal.
Whatever your reasons for minimizing, there are some things that you won’t want to let go, and that’s fine (it gets easier over time as you adjust to the idea of having fewer things). You don’t need to get rid of everything. Keeping what you love around confers a sense of familiarity and belonging, and this goes a long way in making you feel comfortable wherever you are.
Thanks for reading!