Friday, August 30, 2013

Thoughts on Moving - Age and Stage

Source
The first time I ever moved I was 12; we migrated from the Bahamas to the United States. This was not a move of choice but again, of circumstance. Due to political upheaval at the time our family was forced to leave since my parents were not Bahamian. As a 12 year old I did not understand any of this; it was an adventure to be on a plane for the first time, it was an adventure driving from JFK and meeting my cousins, and it was delightful eating lasagna for the first time and staying at my uncle's house. It was also cold, very cold and my skinny island body did not like it. Apparently we arrived in spring, but it felt like winter to me. I could not understand how other children were outside during recess playing. I froze. School was also an adventure; due to the British education system in the Bahamas I did very well at school and teachers love smart kids. In class I remember it being the first time I was called a young lady - in the Bahamas we were treated as children. Here we were expected to take ownership of certain things. It was all an adventure, and I made the necessary adjustments without too much resistance.

For my parents it was not an adventure - they were starting over in a new country with 7 children. They had to hit the ground running. Within six months they were able to purchase a house. My dad had to start over as none of his mechanic credentials were valid in the states. He eventually joined his brothers working at a bakery. My mom decided that it was too cold to only wear dresses and skirts, so she started wearing pants and eventually went back to school. My mom had always envisioned moving to the states. As is the case with many from the Caribbean, an uncle was supposed to send for her, but never did. When it was certain we were moving to NY, she embraced it wholeheartedly and never looked back.

Moving at 12 was an adventure, moving in my 40s not so much though I tried to remain hopelessly optimistic. Prior to moving, I thought it wise to seek out others who had made such a move and get their thoughts. For the most part people were very positive and encouraging.  But then I spoke to someone who had nothing but bad experiences in her move to the west coast. According to her, this was the worst place on the earth.  Being the practical person I am, I weighed her thoughts against the others and the good outweighed the bad, but those negative words stayed with me for months and it was not a good way to start this journey. Her age and stage of life may have had a lot to do with her perceptions of her situation.

Age and stage makes a huge difference in how you handle your new location. I've heard it said that geography is irrelevant because wherever you go, you still have to deal with you. As a child I didn't have a care in the world. As an older woman in my 40s, I had begun to think differently about many things. I had raised children and learned many things from doing so. I had tempered some of my views and many of my Christian beliefs were reinforced. I used to be a black and white person, and as I grew I realized that there were many grey areas in life and not all of them were bad. Life was not as neat as I would like it to be. Moving made me realize just how neat it wasn't, but I now felt I had the mental fortitude to deal with whatever came my way.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:10
Does age and stage matter or is it just about the location?


4 comments:

  1. I've moved a lot over the years and I think the people that surrounds makes a big difference in your move. But location is definitely key!!!

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    1. How are you? is there ever an ideal location? what if its not what you thought it was going to be - do you move again? Just some thoughts; thanks for reading.

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  2. I've moved several times as an adult including living overseas and the more I did it the easier it became. I always felt some level of fear and uncertainty but my constant prayer is for PEACE and he gives it to me when I need it most. I enjoyed reading about your upbringing and transition from island life to city life. My husband is from Belize and moved here at age 8. His teachers loved him also b/c of that British learning system he was ahead of his peers.

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  3. That someone is her sister that's still living here 8 years later. Perhaps she should give you the entire context before typing a complete lie. California is not the worst place I've ever lived. Never said that. There are lots of things I like about California. My biggest challenge has been the disconnect with people and the way they choose to live that's all. People are very important to me. Authentic relationships are very important to me. Trying to find those in a shallow city has been quite the challenge but God is able.

    In addition, my move here was completely different than her move. That makes all the difference in the world. Moving by yourself...solo with no support from anyone in your family, with your own money, having to find your own place, find your own job, buy your own car etc proves to be a lot more challenging than having a company move you 3,000 miles away.

    I'm still standing strong after 8 years and I will continue to do so. You probably won't read this comment because she will probably delete it. I had to tell the truth. Tired of the lies and this phony picture. Enough is enough. Oh and one more thing, when she asked me to tell her about California, I told her I would rather her find out for herself yet she continued to beg me so I painted the worst possible scenarios for her and told her the truth which she's experienced BTW, no matter what picture she paints on this blog which I didn't even know about until a reader...one of my friends told me about it. That just goes to show you the kind of relationship we have.

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