Consider This is a column focused on how important elements of a woman's life look in single life and in marriage. This week, we're considering the experience of moving as single and married women. One single woman and one married woman have written essays, to be published on different days. On a third day, they respond to each other's experience. Read Alice’s essay about moving as a single woman here and Katrina’s as a married woman here.
Alice (single) to Katrina (married)
I was very struck by your thought that “sometimes, that’s the way life goes: the best option is also the only option, and we simply have to move forward and make do with what we have.” Though I didn’t emphasize this much in my original piece, that’s very much been the experience of the last year or so for me. As seemingly thing after thing has gone wrong (culminating in COVID-19!) I’ve really had to lean into the present moment and make the best of what I had. It’s been a good experience, but a hard one, and I definitely relate.
I didn’t expect to relate so much to your struggle in making friends. A few years ago, I lived in a very small, close-knit community where I felt like the odd one out. It was difficult to face that challenge, and I definitely often fall into the trap of thinking that married women already have built-in friends! I’m glad to know, though, that you’ve found a few good friends, and I think that’s common to our experiences—sometimes all you need is one friend to make a place livable and even homey.
I honestly hadn’t thought consciously about how important the location of family is. It’s powerful to hear about your experience and think about how I sometimes don’t take very seriously the possibility that I will want and even need to be near my own mom when I’m raising my kids. It’s encouraging to know, though, that you are bravely making it through even when you would rather be closer.
Your observation that “moving, like so many other things, brings out the best and the worst in people” was really eye-opening to me. I definitely thought of having another person moving with me as only the positives—another person to carry boxes!—and not the inevitable challenges of communicating with another person under stress, making decisions together, and not always seeing eye to eye on plans. It really helped remind me that marriage involves a whole new person with their own needs and desires, and while that’s great, it definitely also makes life a little more challenging and complicated. That inspires me to appreciate the simplicity of my life while I have it, and also reminds me to think about my future husband as a fully-rounded human being—not just a moving buddy!
Katrina (married) to Alice (single)
Having moved a lot in my life (though just nine times, not your twelve!), I related so much to the feeling of restlessness you described—that craving for a reset. Longing for new experiences and savoring the taste of adventure transcend our relationship and familial statuses, and I think there’s great connection to be found in that fact.
I keep coming back to your thoughts about community. It was another reminder that our desires are not so different: we all need other people in our corner. As I shared in my piece, we have struggled to find community here, but your piece helped me realize that I often take for granted the built-in community I have in my husband and children—I get so focused on what I don’t have that I’m not very good at focusing on what I do have. Your piece helped me regain a healthy perspective. (Thank you for that!)
The community aspect of your piece, particularly regarding neighbors, also made me want to be more intentional in my interactions with our newest neighbor, a young woman who moved in across the corridor from us. We’re always friendly with each other, but your piece is inspiring me to go beyond that and be more, well, neighborly. I need to reflect on how best to do that—like you mentioned, it can be hard for people (single or married!), to be confident in reaching out to neighbors in different phases of life. I think the challenge of connecting goes both ways: just as you’ve felt the challenge in regards to not having a husband or kids to be there when you invite people over, I’ve wondered if this neighbor is even interested in talking with motherly ol’ me. But I suppose it’s helpful, in both cases, to remember that our identities are so much more than our relationships.
One thing is for sure: for both of us, moving is simultaneously stressful and exciting. We may have different logistical challenges to face, but I’d hesitate to say one is harder than the other. They’re just hard in different ways. But at the end of our unique challenges, we’ve both got the excitement of a new home waiting. And speaking of new homes, I wish you the best with your upcoming move!
Do you have reflections on the moving that you'd like to share? Tell us here, and your response may be published by Verily at a later date.