It’s easy to forget just how much work goes into in a cross-country move — how many details, large and small, demand one’s attention. The sheer physicality of moving is exhausting. Just as exhausting are the weeks preceding the move, when your life is in flux and you don’t even know where you’ll land.
In a recent New York Times interview, David Rock, director of the Neuroleadership Institute, talked about the notion of certainty in relation to the brain. Using the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as an example, he said:
The feeling of uncertainty feels like pain, when you can’t predict when the lights will come back on and you’re holding multiple possible futures in your head. That turns out to be cognitively exhausting.
I cannot begin to compare my own comfortable situation to those displaced by natural, political, or financial disasters. I do think, however, that anyone who has ever moved, for whatever reason, can agree that the months preceding a relocation — with unsettling uncertainties about where one will live, where one will create a life and a home — certainly feels like pain. Certainly it’s every bit as cognitively exhausting as it is physically draining.