Column: Change after change

TRL’s Hannah Cole shares her anxieties through her moving process during COVID-19

%22Moving+meant+changing+everything+%E2%80%93+new+house%2C+new+town%2C+new+school%2C+new+friends+%E2%80%93+it+was+one+of+the+toughest+times+in+my+life.+Over+and+over+again+I+pleaded+with+my+parents+to+cancel+the+move+and+for+things+to+return+to+normal.%22

Jade Owens

“Moving meant changing everything – new house, new town, new school, new friends – it was one of the toughest times in my life. Over and over again I pleaded with my parents to cancel the move and for things to return to normal.”

The roar of my mom’s 2017 Ford Explorer filled my ears as we sped down Highway 5. It was dinnertime on July 10, and my father had made us a reservation at Harvest in McKinney. As I left the car and walked into the restaurant, my mask plastered snugly over my mouth and nose, I was excited for a fun outing with my family at my favorite restaurant. Everything was perfect.

After gorging ourselves on some delicious deviled eggs and ordering five chicken fried steaks, I heard a certain sigh from my mother. It’s the type of sigh she makes when she is about to tell us big news. I knew at that moment that something life-altering was about to happen.

“So…we’ve been thinking about doing something a little crazy,” my mom began once she had gotten our attention.

There was a pregnant pause in the room despite the boisterous laughter of the table next to us and the chatter of waiters and patrons. My sisters and I held our breath in anticipation.

“We think it would be financially responsible to sell our house and downsize,” finished my father.

Everything was no longer perfect.

“When my parents first told me that we were moving from my childhood home in Garland out to Lucas, I was absolutely devastated.” (Courtesy of Hannah Cole)

For a long time now, I’ve struggled with anxiety, and one of the ways it manifests itself is that I’m resistant to change. In order to cope with my anxious feelings, I tend to plan out everything I do beforehand, and spontaneous change means deviating from the aforementioned plan into the unknown. 

When my parents first told me that we were moving from my childhood home in Garland out to Lucas, I was absolutely devastated. Moving meant changing everything — new house, new town, new school, new friends — it was one of the toughest times in my life. Over and over again I pleaded with my parents to cancel the move and for things to return to normal. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and I love my life in Lucas, but that first week or two of fifth grade were full of anxious feelings.

A comfort to me, however, was their promise to me that we wouldn’t move again until I was long out of the house; they only planned to leave that house once my sisters finished high school. As circumstances changed over the years, in an honestly unsurprising turn of events, selling our house ended up being a responsible decision. But, that doesn’t mean this process has been easy, and with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the house purchasing and selling processes were more different and difficult than ever.

The virus managed to take my anxious feelings about moving and amplify them tenfold. For one, COVID-19 made house showings much more stressful. I had no way of knowing if some potential buyers were contaminating the things in my room, or if the houses I toured had contaminates on every surface. Second, we had a lot of problems trying to find a house to buy. With school being out early, the market was extremely active, and houses being put up would sell the same day. Third, I was gearing up for the possible start of school, which, at the time, was still in discussions about in-person and virtual. The sheer amount of changes and differences from previous years occurring at once overwhelmed me.

“A small break from the anxiety came when we finally found a house.” (Courtesy of Hannah Cole)

A small break from the anxiety came when we finally found a house. It was one of the quickest turnarounds in house buying history – we were standing in the new house’s kitchen with our realtor, watching with bated breath as she called the owners and made them an offer. We had an answer by the time we got into the car to leave, and it was like a collective weight lifted off our shoulders.

As I write this now from the comfort of my grandma’s house, which we’re staying at while our new house is renovated, I remember the moment everything finally set in — the moment I realized nothing was ever going to be as it was. It was a Sunday afternoon, I can’t remember which, and I watched a buyer from Facebook Marketplace come and pick up some furniture. Seeing the empty space filled me with such raw emotion as I realized that yes, this was really happening.

This move has been nothing short of stressful, and all my negative emotions regarding it have only compounded due to COVID-19. I can only hope the renovations on our new house go smoothly and that the adjustment isn’t too bad. Until then, I’ll take every day in stride, and wait for the next serious talk at Harvest.