Moving on

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Hickey
  • 934th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
After 17 years of living in Wisconsin, I decided it was time to move on. I finished graduate school in 2010 and decided I would go where I thought my career prospects were brightest. Moving on meant many things: a new job, a new city, new friends, and certainly, a new state of mind.

Looking back on the spring of 2012, I'd become increasingly dissatisfied with my job in Milwaukee, and I'd observed a growing number of my friends from college move away. After a time, the urge to move took over me too, and I began seeking employment in other parts of the country and even overseas. I applied for several jobs during a tough economy. Gladly, I can report I got the job I most wanted, and I set a course for Washington, D.C. in late November of 2012.

As overwhelming as the information age can be sometimes, I'm truly thankful for the technology that allowed me to find a new place to live, view photos and panoramic videos of new living spaces, and applications that let me view my new neighborhood by street address. Technology made the moving process a lot less stressful for me. When I drove into Columbia, Maryland in late November of last year, I recognized my new street and a few of the landmarks around town. That was comforting.

Moving on requires a person to carefully consider what they own, what will make the journey, and what will be left behind or discarded. This process of selection was a liberating one because it forced me to choose what things were most important to me, and what things had reached their expiration date in my life. I got rid of carloads of stuff all the while asking myself, 'Where did all this stuff come from?' and 'Who can use this?' I felt lighter in both physical and mental load once that process was completed. In fact, it's still not complete. I still sort through things once a month to stay on top of clutter.

Becoming a city commuter took some getting used to, of course. In fact, I didn't feel that well for an entire month after I relocated. Being surrounded by so many people in confined spaces like the Metro or a commuter bus was new to me, as was the big city pace. But, good things outweighed those initial hassles, and I've come to appreciate the District of Columbia as an energetic, action-packed place. It's just a place I have to learn to share with thousands of other people.

Seven months later, I still consider myself in transition. I believe it takes at least a year for me to feel settled into a new home. Locating a new reserve unit on the east coast has taken some time, and the process has come with its share of frustration. East coast living is expensive, and Washington is crowded. I'm still learning to negotiate the traffic here, and I rely on public transportation as much as I can. I believe the move was worth it, even though there are a few new challenges here too.
When I become impatient with the process or myself, I have to remind myself to slow down and appreciate all the people and places around me. I also tell myself the age old adage that Rome was not built in a day. That always helps.