The challenges of moving to a new place

My family is happily settled in Ohio. We love our house, my wife and the girls love their school, and we’ve already compiled a growing lists of “favorites” in the area.

The refresh that comes with moving to a new place has been good for our family unit, to the point where I fully believe everyone should move to a new place sometime in their life. I have seen personal growth in each of my family members and I think this experience will help our girls see the bigger picture of life.

However, I’d be lying to you if I said it was easy. I am a positive person and tend to portray that in my columns. But, I also believe in honesty and transparency, so here is a personal list of things that have been challenging since moving:

• Being farther away from family and friends is harder than it seems when making the decision to move. This is universal among all people who move away. We went from being less than two hours from either set of grandparents to triple that. This forces more creativity in the form of longer stays, and thank goodness for Face Time.

In our previous town, which neither of us grew up in but we lived in for 10-plus years, we were loved at my wife and daughters’ school, at our church and within the community at large, with roots that ran knee deep. With friends who also have children, it is hard to maintain long-distance relationships where you don’t have “set” activities to see them at as we tend to get quickly wrapped up in our own worlds and those of our children.

• We are thankful that we’ve quickly found new communities, and while they are similar in many ways, they aren’t exactly like those that we had, which is an adjustment. We’ve found a nice school for the girls, a nice church and athletic/extra curricular activities for both daughters. But each are just a little bit different – not bad, but different. I try to look at this as an opportunity to expand our network.

• Starting over can be hard. It is a strange feeling to be the new person in a given community, such as a soccer team or at work. We were veterans in our past life, the people who tried to welcome newcomers into our various groups. Now it is the other way around. I do think it is humbling to have experience in both roles, and I really try to live by the phrase “embrace the journey.”

• There is a lot of paperwork. Things like getting a drivers’ license and registration and dealing with new insurance add extra work to the moving process, especially from out of state. When you are in a place for a long time, you get to know which types of doctors, dentists, etc. are right for your family, but you come in a little bit blind when starting new.

• When you move, you relinquish your work comfort zone. It’s easy to grow comfortable in a job you’ve held down the past 10 years. I thought that while in Michigan, I tried to challenge myself and not get complacent, but there is nothing like jumping into a new situation, full of curveballs and challenges along the way. Having a new job requires more mental fortitude, but I am finding it is very rewarding.

• On the work subject, I am happy with the progress I’ve been able to make and have learned so much about the A-T and this community. But the dreamer in me came in with a list of ideas and accomplishments I wanted to roll out immediately. Not surprising, some have been checked off and some have had to take the back burner as new challenges have popped up left and right. I pictured a moment where the new coach walks into the locker room and immediately lifts his team to the championship. It has been more of a slow build with triumphs and setbacks but with the overriding notion we are headed in the right direction.

• I’ve found I am prone to strange moments. I can drive the same way home for weeks at a time and one day I’ll have a thought like “what am I doing here in Ohio?” This place has definitely become home, and these moments are always fleeting, but speak to the overall oddness of moving to a brand-new place.

• Finding a babysitter is hard! We used to have my wife’s students fighting to babysit our kids. But with her teaching in a community just far enough away from our house to make babysitting not easy, we’ve struggled to find a way to get away for a quiet dinner or movie. While our network is growing, it takes time to find people you can call on in a pinch.

None of this overshadows the fact we’ve found the Tiffin area to be a great place that has welcomed us well. And the positives far outweigh the struggles. But four months in, and a month into the school year, feels like a good time to adjust our situation. I’d classify it as such: While we miss our old home, this new place has become home. We’re trying our best to have our heads be where our feet are.

Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune. He can be reached at jspeer@advertiser-tribune.com.