There are many of us who get restless with our current lives and think that maybe a major change, such as a move, will solve whatever problems we might have. While in some situations moving may help, it's a good idea to think through your decision before you hire a mover or pack the kitchen.
1. What Will I Miss?
This may seem like a straight-forward question, however, having been (and sometimes still am) that restless soul who looks to the future, thinking that things are better somewhere else, I recommend making a list of all the things in your life that are attached to where you live.
Think about the people you'll miss, the sports or work team you're involved with or the quiet neighbors who are always there when you need them. Write down the great things about the city or town or your neighborhood you live in that you love, such as theaters, a great rep cinema, a bakery within walking distance or a coffee shop where they know what you like before you even order.
All these things matter and it's up to you how much they should be counted as part of your decision to move.
What about family - do you have close relationships that you'll miss if you move? What about support you may provide to an elderly family member - is there someone who can replace you? What about the support you might receive from family, such as child-care, home repairs, emotional support etc... How often could you afford to return for visits?
2. What Don't I Like About My Present Situation?
If you're restlessness has to do with your current job or a current relationship, then ask yourself if your unhappiness would be solved by changing employers or ending that relationship. If the answer is "yes" then perhaps a move is not needed.
Look at what is in your life now that you are not happy with then think about whether that problem can be solved by making some major changes, such as finding a new job, starting a new career or finding a new social circle - most of these changes can be done without packing a single box.
3. If You Move, What Will Change?
When I'm trying to decide if a move is in my best interest, I always make a list of the positive things that the new city/town/neighborhood will offer such as a larger or smaller city, a safer neighborhood, a better cost-of-living, better schools, more access to recreation, better weather, etc...
These factors can only be decided by you.
For me, weather is a big factor as well as an affordable city with access to outdoor recreation. I then rank, in order, what is most important to my (and my family's) happiness, after which I look at my present situation and determine if some of these factors can be found where I currently live. If not, I reassess their importance and look at the overall picture and not just the immediate picture, but what our life might look like a year, two years and five years down the road.
Long-term planning is important since moving is a big commitment and requires a lot of energy, patience and financial resources. Will your family be better off (physically, emotionally, spiritually) in future? Is moving right for your family right now? What if you delayed it for a year or two? How would this impact your current situation? Could you afford to move in future?
4. What About the Practical?
The decision-making process wouldn't be complete without taking into consideration the practical aspects of moving. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
- How much will it cost to move?
- Can I/we afford to move right now?
- If you have children, is it okay to move during the school year?
- How much will this upset their academic performance?
- Is this a good time of year to find a job?
- Am I (and my family) emotionally stable right now in order to handle the stress and changes that a move brings?
- What is the availability of housing in the new city/town?
In the end, if you've determined your priorities and answered the practical questions, then you're probably a lot closer to making a final decision about moving, knowing if it's the right time and the right thing to do for you and your family.