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(7) The Start of An Overwhelming Process

The idea of preparing for a move halfway across the country seemed like a daunting, almost impossible task! Where do we even start? Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself of the old Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I find that just taking that first step, however big or small, can curtail the feeling of helplessness that comes with overwhelm. Taking action always makes you feel more in control.

In order to get ready for our long-distance move, my wife and I knew that it would be best to downsize as much as possible. We understood that the process of deciding what to keep, throw out, or give away was going to be difficult — though it was a hundred times more challenging than we ever thought!

A few months before, I had gone through a similar process for my mother’s estate, although she had a lot less stuff than we had. It was painful and very emotional to go through my mother’s belongings. The memories of my childhood, the times my family and I had in my childhood home, and the thought that this was an end of another phase of my life was heart-wrenching! I knew that going through our own stuff would elicit similar feelings of nostalgia and attachment. We had raised our daughter and spent over 30 years in our home! We are also collectors and have a tendency to save everything!

My wife and I decided that we definitely wanted to live closer to our daughter, which gave us a powerful incentive to plow forward, despite our anxieties. I felt that we needed a definite plan of action every day, so that we could take the steps needed to move us closer to our objective of having our house ready for sale by May 2015. The spring was prime time for a house to be sold in New Jersey. The weather was beautiful, and homes always show better when the flowers and trees are in full bloom. It’s also a good time for families to buy a home before school starts.

When I thought about what needed to be done, I knew that I had to devote myself full time to getting ready for our big move. This meant selling my business of thirty five years. I was a little surprised at what an emotional process this was for me. It felt like I was selling a child! I had nurtured my business like a child and made many friends along the way. Looking back, I think my high sensitivity was an advantage in running my business, as I was extremely attentive to my customers and formed strong bonds with them. I had some accounts for over thirty years! I can’t tell you how grateful I am to my customers for their loyalty and patronage!

In true HSP form, I wanted to sell my business to a company that would take care of my customers the same way I did. If I had to leave, I wanted to do it with a clear conscience. I approached a man who owned a company that had the same business values. I talked to him during the off-peak season, and we planned for an early spring takeover. It worked out perfectly! After I had transferred my business to its new owner, I was eager to focus all of my time to my objective of working on my home.

Did you ever have to make plans at the start of a challenging process? If so, how did you do this? How did you manage your feelings of overwhelm or cope with your anxiety? How did you stay on track? What about now? Do you have a goal that you would like to reach? If so, how can you get started? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

The next post, (8) Deciding What to Keep and What to Let Go, is about the challenge of downsizing prior to moving.

About Cliff’s Big Move Series: In this series of blog posts, I chronicle a really “Big Move” that my wife and I made to move halfway across the country to be closer to our daughter. This was a HUGE change for us, as we had lived in our home in New Jersey for over 30 years! My mother had recently passed away, and our only daughter had moved to Missouri. It is my hope that this series will motivate you, as a highly sensitive person, to take on something that’s truly important to you. I tell the story sequentially in 23 posts, with each one numbered. It’s best to start at the beginning. You can access all the posts by clicking on the Cliff’s Big Move category in the sidebar.

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