Today I’m sharing with you five life lessons that I learned from a nightmare move that I recently had. 

It was a nightmare. Nothing went according to plan. I can’t think of one thing that went according to plan in this move. But in all seriousness, I actually did learn some stuff about myself, and also just about life in general in this experience. 

Initially, when we made the decision to move right away, within a week of that decision I found the perfect place. It checked all the boxes. It was in our old neighborhood. All the things that we didn’t have in the place that we had before, this place had. We were so excited to put in an offer. We were the first people who had seen this place, and we put in an offer for what they were asking because we really didn’t want to get into the whole negotiation thing, and we didn’t want to lose it because it’s a super hot market right now. We fixed all the paperwork, and they responded. Everything was all-systems-go and we were all excited. They had verbally said “Yes.” 

I went to bed on a Sunday night, all excited because we were starting to make plans for the move. When I woke up on a Monday morning, I found an email from the realtor saying they had changed their minds! They had been made an even higher offer. And they did this without even consulting us or giving us an opportunity to counter the offer. They had accepted that offer and signed overnight. I was absolutely gutted. I was so crushed. I cried because I really wanted to move into this place. We had to go looking again. 

But here’s the great thing. In everything that happens, no matter how difficult, no matter how dark, they’re always is a silver lining. We couldn’t find anything like it in the neighborhood that we were in, so we had to look at other neighborhoods that we hadn’t considered. We ended up finding what is going to be our perfect new home in 18 months, but it’s not yet constructed. We were in this position where it’s like, okay, we get to build this house and get to put our mark on it and say what we want and what we don’t want, but we had the space of 18 months while they’re building this house that we had to figure out. So I had to go looking for a rental place. 

It was not easy. We wanted to find something that would allow us to experience the neighborhood and get familiar with the neighborhood before our house is ready, so I went looking for apartments. I couldn’t find anything. We were looking for days and days and couldn’t find anything. 

Then eventually, just on a whim, a realtor that we had just met briefly at a restaurant called up and said, “Hey, I know someone who’s just listed their place for rent. It’s not the size that you’re looking for. It’s smaller, but in a perfect location. I think you’d love it.” So we went to look at it and I went there not expecting much, really. Then we walked in the door, and the view was amazing! We had the most phenomenal view of a lake.

So here are the lessons that I had learned in this move:

1. Things won’t always work out exactly as you planned, but be open

Sometimes the thing that you want shows up, but it doesn’t look how you imagined it would look. For me, the lesson was to be open to exploring new neighborhoods, be open to exploring things that maybe don’t check all the boxes, but that really presents a new opportunity for you to experience something different. 

2. Everything always takes longer than you think it will take

I thought when I started packing, “How hard could it be to pack for two people? Literally, there are two of us who live in this place. How hard could it be?” 

Apparently, it is quite hard. Apparently, we had a lot of stuff. It took way longer than I expected for us to pack.Then when the movers came to move us, it took way longer – way, way longer than they expected for them to load up their van. The building of the new apartment happened to have really strict condo rules. They give you a window of time in which you can move,  after that they shut down the elevator. The movers got stuck in traffic and by the time we got to the new place, we had an hour left on our moving window. They said “Sorry, there is no way that you can offload in an hour. And so you can’t move in today.” What are you kidding me? We have like a moving bag full of all our stuff! How can you not let us move in? 

Long story short, they said “No.” We ended up being in a situation where the movers had to take our stuff in their truck back to their depot overnight, and then come back the next day to offload.

The thing is that I learned that, first of all, it is what it is. I just had to accept what it was. But to recognize that no matter how well of a plan you have, sometimes things will just take longer, it doesn’t mean they’re not going to happen. It just means it might take longer than how long you think it’ll take. 

So we ended up moving in, but it took longer and we ended up moving in the next day. Even if we accept the fact that sometimes things take longer, it’s not a reason for you to give up on your goals, no reason for you to give up on your dreams, not a reason for you to give up on your move, it just means it’s going to take a little bit longer

3. You really need to care for yourself, when you’re in the midst of change.

When you’re going through something that is a big fundamental shift, or it doesn’t actually even have to be a big thing, self-care is so important. Because when we’re going through change or going through stressful things, when there’s lots happening in our lives, the very first thing that goes out of the window is self-care. But if anything, that’s when we actually need to be doubling down on – taking care of ourselves.

I ended up feeling really unwell because I wasn’t taking care of myself. And so what I want to share with you is that when you’re going through change, whatever it is, make sure that you have a plan in place to care for yourself. 

When I did eventually kind-of, sort-of figure this out, what I realized was that I wasn’t drinking enough water. I hadn’t planned to have bottles of water with me. I wasn’t eating properly because we’re having long stretches just trying to power through packing boxes or unpacking boxes. What I realized is I wasn’t being good to myself, and I was starting to not feel good. I wasn’t feeling my best. I had to let go of the perfectionism, and I was like, you know what, we’re going to eat takeout for the next seven days. I’m just going to give myself that space of not having to think of all of these things. So I made sure that I ordered tons of water to be delivered to the house to make sure that I was hydrated. 

I tried my best when it came to caring for my body by making space every day, starting every single day with meditation and setting an intention for the day because I thought that was really important. So every day, I made even just five minutes to care for my mind, to care for myself, to set an intention for the day. 

4. Asking for help is not a bad thing 

There is no shame in asking for help. I’m very much someone who prefers to do things myself. And yes, I subscribe to the idea that everything can be figured out. But at the same time, sometimes being kind to yourself means asking for help. And what I learned as well, by asking for help from my friends, from my co-workers, from my team, was that people want to be asked to help you. People want to know how they can help you and they don’t always know how.

So with this move, my number one mantra was “How can I make this easy for myself?” and “How can I ask for help?” I found that people, like I said, literally were willing and wanting to help. There is no shame in asking for help, no shame at all. Ask for help. 

5. Even in the midst of everything seemingly going wrong, you can find joy. 

So I told you about how we weren’t allowed to move our stuff in because we missed the window, and then meant that we had an overnight where we didn’t have any furniture, didn’t have anything. But we chose to have fun.

What my husband and I did was we got to take out dinner and we bought a couple of candles. We sat on the floor and ate our dinner. We had a romantic candlelit dinner sitting on the floor eating out of takeout containers. I can honestly tell you that it was the most fun we’d had in a long time! It just felt so playful, so different. Even in the move itself. Even when we were told we couldn’t move, I was able to find joy in that and to have a joke with the concierge who had to be the bearer of the news that we couldn’t move in, and to laugh about it. 

If it’s hard, it is hard, and you can choose to make it miserable, or you can choose to find ways that you can find joy even in the most challenging of times. 

Sandra has a podcast episode on this topic in the WORTHY Podcast:

You can also watch it on YouTube: