Moving House for the First Time in a Decade

In 2004, ten years ago, I moved to Athens, Georgia.  It was to be a temporary home for me—I expected to be here for two or three years, long enough to start and finish graduate school and perhaps to work for a year before moving back to Pittsburgh or New York or some other big city.  My parents were interested in getting an investment property and purchased an adorable little purple house in town. Since August of 2004, I’ve been renting that house from them. Jim’s been living with me for many of my ten years here, and while we’ve talked about moving out and making our own fresh start, that plan didn’t come to fruition until this year.

You see, my parents (with our help) have put the house on the market.  I don’t think they ever intended to keep it ten years—in fact, I never intended to live in Athens for more than a few years, so none of us got quite what we expected!  Since I moved here, my sister moved back (she now lives 1/2 mile from us) and, just last month, my parents left their home in Florida and live about two miles from my house.

It’s time to sell the house.  While I’m sad, I’m also eager about the new opportunities out there for us.  Jim and I have never gotten to pick out our own home. We are looking forward to settling into a cute little rental house next month.

As with any major change, I already find myself daydreaming about how different life will be in the new place, as if a change of scenery will suddenly allow me to be the most amazing, healthy version of myself.  (I do this every December 31st as well, imagining that every New Year’s resolution I come up with will soon have me being my very best self. I have a handful of New Year’s posts here on, including this one from 2013.)

These little wishes extend to more shallow short-term changes, too. When I travel, I often pack the cute dresses and skirts I rarely wear at home, thinking that suddenly I will turn into a more fashionable version of myself, ready to see the world in style.  (I usually end up wearing my jeans and T-shirts despite what else I’ve packed.)  Another example: when I finally start getting exercise again, I think, “Here’s the real Janet! She has returned. This Janet exercises five times a week. This Janet can’t believe the other Janet who used to skip walks for weeks at a time!”

So it’s with a mixture of excitement and hesitation that I approach my upcoming move to a new neighborhood in Athens.  Rather than trying to convince myself that I will form new, healthy habits regarding food and exercise, I’m thinking in different terms.  My main health-related hope for the new place is that I will be able to create a room that’s just for me, a room where I can write this blog, work on Avid Bookshop duties, and just relax. A room with a door that closes. A room where I can get some much-needed alone time with no interruption so that when I return to the rest of the house, I can give my all to my partner and not be distracted by work.  In recent years I’ve learned how important it is for me to have alone time—every personality test has me labeled as an extrovert, but I’ll tell you this: if I don’t get enough quiet time by myself, I get stressed and my rope is shorter than anyone wants it to be.  And we all know that stress is not a migraineur’s best friend.

Have you ever made a big lifestyle change and hoped for health-related benefits to come with it? What did you wish for, and how did it work out for you?

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