As I write this I am sitting at DMV. West Randolph Street. Chicago, Illinois. So far doesn’t appear to be all that different than New Jersey. They are telling me I need to take the written exam even though it’s technically not a requirement (“agents do reserve the right to choose whether or not you take one”). So much for 36 years of driving experience. They took my picture already, so I guess they’re assuming I’ll pass. I’ve been here for a half hour.
Moving is almost as bad as losing your wallet…with over $10,000 in it! Every card company, every financial institution needs to be contacted. As well as insurance companies (still not sure when my medical coverage in Illinois goes into effect; still covered in New Jersey until it does, although that’s essentially useless now – my only complaint about the ACA).
My move wasn’t completed until August 25 when I finally had the last vehicle and last person (my daughter) in Illinois. Last week I got her moved into her college dorm, did one last sweep of organization in the apartment, and sat down on my new sectional sofa and declared myself done. It took two months. A few trips back and forth. It was very expensive. And at times, very stressful. I held off writing about it until I could get my thoughts together, calm down, and come at it from the best perspective possible.
I’ve still only had my documents reviewed and picture taken. I’ve been here for an hour.
Moving sucks. I realized this in college when it seemed every few months I was packing to go one way or the other. As a married adult, I moved five times in less than 20 years. They were all local moves no further than maybe 10 or 15 miles at best and I finally had resources to hire help. I didn’t know what real moving stress was until I moved 800 miles as a single adult.
The moving company I hire to do my previous moves wasn’t available on the dates I wanted to move and neither where the companies friends recommended. Who knew June was such a popular month to vacate the land of high property taxes? I found another company with mixed reviews, but availability.
Okay, finally my number is called. Quickly moved to the testing area (only after paying for the license, so again, it appears they have confidence in my ability to pass).
My stuff was loaded up without incident on the 26thof June. My stuff arrived in Chicago a week later. What happened in between I’ll never know. Some of the boxes coming off the truck looked like they had been thrown down the side of a mountain. Plastic bins marked “fragile” crushed. China, crystal, my mother’s tea sets. My running awards and the dining room table. I was devastated.
As I opened boxes I was surprised to see some fragile items actually made it (stuff I packed of course!). A few other things didn’t make it and the dining room table needed to be replaced. Some boxes in storage I haven’t had the courage to open. I have nine months to complete my claim.
The driver’s license process took a total of one hour and 45 minutes. I’ve seen worse in New Jersey. I passed the written exam, getting 28 of 28 questions correct. On to registration and plates…
I will be happy when this is all done, although I do realize giving up my visual New Jersey identity is a big deal. I have been a New Jersey resident since I was two years old. It’s such a part of who I was. Beyond letting go, there is also fear of the unknown that lies ahead, finding the courage to take risks, networking and reestablishing myself professionally when I’m feeling overwhelmed and, at times, completely lost. It’s been a lot. I will admit that it’s been tough. But here we are.
And I am happy. I love my neighborhood and how homey my apartment finally feels. I’m making some nice connections among runners and Rotarians, Let Me Run colleagues, and I’m taking on a new volunteer project (more on that to come). And of course, I have the benefit of love and support close by now. So, there are lots of good things to balance the stressful times.
Getting all the right documentation for the car registration took a total of two hours and 45 minutes (which required three separate calls to Volkswagen Credit each of which included sitting on hold waiting for a live person for over 20 minutes). That was balanced by some very nice people behind the counter and on the phone trying to do their jobs within a challenging system – although at one point I was ready to drive the car into the lake and take the train home.
There are probably a bunch of lessons learned from the move – and my four and half hours at the DVM – that I could share. Yet it all boils down to this: be patient; with yourself and others. Do what you can do and try to find a good story in the rest of it.