How Moves in 2022 Helped People “Buy Back” Time

Often, the emotional journey of moving is a way for people to “buy back” time, to live their best lives, surrounded by who — and what — matters most.  

Looking at United Van Lines 2022 Annual National Movers Study, there was a noticeable shift away from large cities to small- or mid-size ones. People who moved in 2022 were also drawn to more remote areas with access to outdoor resources, cities on or near the coast, and — by virtue — locations with shorter, less stressful commutes. Needless to say, remote work only further fueled and fostered that desire. 

From the port city of Williamsburg in coastal, southeastern North Carolina to sun-bathed Santa Fe, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona; and Punta Gorda, Florida, some people are seeking a slower pace of life, one where home is a hop, skip or a short drive from the office. Others sought an upgrade in retirement living or wanted to be outdoors more. Layer that with the fact that a significant number of respondents moved to be closer to loved ones — 32.4% of moves in 2022, compared to 31.8% in 2021. Priorities have clearly changed — in 2018, that number stood at just 24.13%. Conversely, fewer people than ever are moving due to a job transfer 47.6% in 2018, compared to 33.29% in 2022. 

This paints an interesting picture — it seems people want to spend more time doing things they love — with people they love. Work, as important as it is, doesn’t trump quality of life, especially since last year 13.10% of customers we moved attributed their change of place to the ability to work from home. 

The pandemic forced us to take a cold, hard look at what counts, as well as what does not.  

The Value of Time 

Philosopher Theophrastus once said, “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”  

Largely, from a dollar and cents perspective, you can calculate what your (work) time is actually worth. If, for example, you earn $80,000 a year, you make $6,153.84 when paid four weeks in a month. That means that each week is worth $1,538.46. With five days in each work week, each day is worth $307.69, not factoring in things like PTO and paid holidays. 

However, the real-world value of your time … that’s much harder to qualify. It’s why we grow up being told “time is precious,” the “early bird catches the worm,” and “time flies when you’re having fun.” 

Facing a global pandemic, remote schooling and close quarters stays-in-place gave us ample time to consider where we want to be, why we want to be there, who we want to be there with, and when and how to make it happen.  

Some took the plunge and got a new lease on life. Others relocated to the boonies, only to wish for city life (or a smaller-scale version of it) again. Not to be overlooked are the people still getting their groove — the ones who have yet to make the leap.  

A cross-country move is a big deal. It can surface big emotions that need to be acknowledged, worked through and addressed. Whatever the stage of your journey, maximizing your time involves being present exactly where you are. It’s in that quiet you can find solutions, settle your soul and start crafting your next chapter in life, fulfilled. 

The Importance of Being Present 

If you bring that big-city-stress to the picturesque arc of sand, mountain town idyllic village where you relocated, moving was only half the battle. You just won’t get the reset button you seek.  

To truly experience and make the most of your time in your new surroundings, you need to start by just being

If you find yourself thinking about the past or the future in moments alone, or not focusing on the present with intention, consider the perpetual multitasking you do. Being in multiple places at once, even when it’s virtual, is exhausting. Take a break. Take a step back. Do what you need to do to quiet your mind and slow your pace. 

Here are a few things to remember as you begin to spend time in your new place and space: 

  • Taking care of yourself lets you be more present wherever you are and whatever you’re doing 
  • Observing the world around you makes it easier to make mindful decisions about what no longer serves you, and to adjust course accordingly 
  • Building in time that takes you away from distractions, including emails to texts, grounds you and forces you to be present 

Embracing Moments 

Whether it’s focusing on your breathing or practicing “being,” embracing time is easier said than done. Think of it like a muscle you have to strengthen, maintain and flex to stay fit.  

And while there is no one way to be present, there are techniques that have been proven to work. 

Take the practice of forest bathing as an example. It’s defined as the act of leisurely walking through the woods, breathing the forest air, immersing yourself in the natural surroundings and mindfully using all your senses helps foster an emotional connection to your surroundings.  

Then there’s the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv), which roughly translates to “outdoor living,” whatever the weather. It’s about being in it — really in it — reveling in moments as they unfold. 

For some, journaling may be the ticket to being present. For others, meditation does the trick.  

At the end of the day, the right approach is the one that lends perspective and instills a sense of inner peace. It’s the one that helps you slow down enough to notice the world around you — even during that (now-shorter) office commute, that next family gathering or that dinner party you’re about to have with new friends. 

Want some more tips on settling into your new home? Decorating your digs? And keeping your wellness and self-care intact? Our blog is full of advice on streamlining and making the best of your move. 

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