Movin' on Up
Moving is the worst. There is no way around that. From battling Karen at U-Haul for the last set of plate protectors to navigating an eight-way intersection with sixteen moving trucks operated by freaked out drivers, moving is never fun. Bum knee, snow storm, or an ill-timed cold, we all have vivid moving memories that seem to last.
One of the first experiences of moving perils usually comes in childhood or adolescence. Epidemiologists found that frequent moves during youth indicates a likelihood of psychosocial stress and vital exhaustion in transition to middle adulthood or ages 32-42. In another study, mental health researchers studied over a million people across all socioeconomic classes and found that frequent moves during childhood (14 years and below), lead to serious adverse effects later in life like attempted suicide, violent criminality, psychiatric illness, substance misuse, even death. Thanks a lot, mom and dad.
But what about after you make moving decisions yourself? No surprise, it’s stressful. High cost, driving a moving truck, saying good bye to friends makes moving terrible, but are there any upsides? Other than the sick new pad and necessary pad thai takeout, are there any benefits to moving?
Well, yes and no. Memory improves as you move. If you haven’t moved very much, this is the same phenomenon as graduation goggles, or the reminiscence bump. Our memories stick better when they have a backdrop, like at the end of high school or beginning of college. Moving provides a solid foundation where your positive and negative memories live. Likewise, the first time we do something, we remember it better. (Try remembering your first job interview versus your fifth.) Moving comes with a whole host of new restaurants, new people, new trash rules, new strangers to ride the bus with, etc. Further, the participants of the study were asked to name five memorable events and, on average, 1.3 or 26 percent of them came within a three-year period surrounding a move. So while moving may be physically, emotionally, and spiritually taxing, your memory is well fed with the surrounding newness.
This fall, whether you are moving, helping someone move, or feigning illness so you don’t have to help, engage your memory superpowers and know, for better or worse, these experiences will stay with you for a lifetime. And no, that large couch won't fit through the door frame.