Deep Thoughts on Moving

Today is the last installment of the current series I’m writing for The New York Times, “New in Town.” 

It was going to be a list of practical tips for anyone who’s facing a relocation. Things like:

  • If you’re having trouble deciding whether to move, call someone who has done it recently either from the place you’re leaving or to the place you’re going.
  • Don’t fret if you don’t ever reach a point where you’re 100% sure about whether you should take the leap and do it. Are you ever 100% sure about anything? I’m not.
  • Label your kitchen boxes in extremely accurate detail. Trust me on this, and if anyone has seen the other half of the parts to my coffee machine, please let me know.
  • If you’re thinking of renovating an old house while also living in it with your whole family and two dogs during the process, I might caution you. It’s kind of stupid and I don’t recommend it. We have breathed so much sawdust. So many boxes are still not unpacked. And so many contractors have seen me walking around in my pajamas and my bras hanging to dry on doorknobs.
  • Be gentle with yourself as you adjust to the new place. Remember when you had your first baby, and you suddenly went from being a really accomplished professional person who ate to-do lists for breakfast to someone whose whole list for the day was, “1) Feed baby 12 times. 2) Change 200 diapers. 3) Try to shower?” This is like that. There are a million things to do, and the business of life doesn’t pause to give you time to do them. If you can do one moving-related thing a day — fill out the postal forms, get your new car tags, figure out how to use the alarm system — that’s plenty.
  • If you possibly can, make some friends where you’re going before you get there, so that when you arrive, you have someone you can call to say you’ve lost your key and have no electricity and need a glass of wine. I was verrrrry lucky to have a dear friend here who housed me 1 million times in her guest room on pre-move trips to do things like find a house, tour schools for the kids, etc. Her extended group of friends are now my extended group of friends. Loose Women Book Club, this one’s for you.
  • (More logistical stuff like that.)

The thing is, though, I was writing this last column while on vacation. So while I started out trying to be practical, I ended up getting a little philosophical instead. It’s hard not to, when you’re looking at this:

I was all, “What are the questions of the universe? Who can really understand the limits of time and space? Can clouds see us? Do fish ever feel sad?”

I was somewhere in the middle of some ocean, on an island that belongs to Great Britain, in a compound owned by people who practice some serious yoga (which I know because I watched them doing yoga from where I sat on my ass reading a book in a lounge chair), surrounded by my spouse and a few of our best friends, plus a cluster of strangers from all over the globe speaking in a variety of languages and accents. I had that same disorienting feeling that you get in certain airports, where you don’t really know where you are and you feel less like an “American” and more like an “earthling.” Being in that place probably influenced what I was writing. So if you don’t like this week’s deep thoughts, blame Earth.

On that note, here’s the article. I had a blast writing this column every week, and I’m so grateful to my editor, KJ, for the invitation, as well as to everyone who read it. Thank you!

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.17.13 AM

* * *

In other news: Now that this series is over, I’ve got time to devote to a few other things. Final edits are due this week on the Penguins with People Problems book that’s coming out next year. (Also, the cover is done, and if I do say so myself, the cover birds are pretty awesome. I can’t wait to be able to show it.) Wheee!


  1. Awesome column! That’s such a beautiful picture, did you take it? Easy to see why you went the philosophical route. Fish need someone to think about them too.

    And I can’t wait for your penguin book!!! 😀

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