The Art of the Medical Move
By Jordyn Paradis Hagar
As summer wanes, July 1st has come and gone and the new med students, interns and residents are settling in. Not to mention those physicians starting a new job that comes at the end of training (at least I’ve heard that’s what happens at the end of training… you get to PICK a job?? And then they pay you MORE than we make right now??) No matter what stage of medicine you and your family are in, there may be a move in your recent past or near future.
With three medical moves down and at least one, if not two, more to go, I decided to write about this fine art. Here are my top ten things to consider when moving.
1. If possible, have money saved. Between the deposits, moving expenses, furnishings, vehicle registrations, start up costs, and the unexpected, you will likely need more than you thought.
2. Have a list of things to do. There are approximately one million things that need to get done when you move, and no one can remember them all. Avoid those moments when you say to yourself, “Oh man, I totally forgot to call the electric company!” and then have no air conditioning in the middle of July.
3. Do as much as possible ahead of time. Aside from finding a place to live… contact utility companies, change your mailing address, research the protocol for all things involving the Department of Motor Vehicles (though let’s be honest, that should be an entire article unto itself). Do what you can ahead of time to lessen the load when you get there.
4. Get rid of stuff. This is a great time to shed the extra. Do you really need all your stuff? Or better yet, do you really want to pack it all up and move it across state lines?
5. Meet people. You cannot go through any part of moving, medical training, and life in general without other people. Connect with people in similar circumstances as well as with people in other realms of your world. Reach out to them all and get connected sooner rather than later.
6. Explore. This is my favorite part of moving (and quite possibly the only thing I like about moving!). Every area, no matter where you are, has unique opportunities and resources to explore. Check them out. Take advantage now; you’ll enjoy yourself more, and you won’t leave with any regrets.
7. Try things until they fit. You will not immediately like everything you do, so give it time. If it still doesn’t fit, try other options. You’re going to live in this new place for a while, and you need to like your life there. Don’t settle for the options that just don’t click.
8. It takes two years. After many moves, I have found that it takes about two years until a place truly feels like home. It might seem daunting to think it could take two years to get to that point, but I think it’s pretty uplifting to think we can accomplish so much in just two years.
9. Hang the pictures. It can be easy to say “We are only here a year” or “Once we get past this stage”, but this is your life, and this is your home. If you don’t live your life now, you may find yourself waiting indefinitely. It’s easy to feel lost when you move, so make your home a place that helps you remember who you are.
10. You bring yourself. When we move, we can often feel uprooted. The pieces of our lives that we hold dear can change, but we need to remember that we bring ourselves with us. Our context may be new, but we are not. Get in touch with yourself, notice which parts of your new life ring true to that self, and nurture those parts above all else.
From one wandering medical spouse to another… happy moving!
Jordyn Paradis Hagar is a licensed clinical social worker doing therapy with children and families. She is also the proud mother to two daughters. She published her first book, “At Least You’ll Be Married To A Doctor”, in February 2012.