Matthew Munson: A fresh start and changing friendships

Matthew Munson friend Di

I moved a third of a mile recently, from the middle of Dumpton to the edge of Broadstairs, and you know what? It was incredibly stressful and anxiety-inducing, as moving so often is. I was rather caught off-guard, to be honest, at how such a simple, short move caused such stress, but I’m fully aware that so many people go through similar experiences when they move.

So, when one of my closest friends told me, back at the start of this year, that she was planning to move 180 miles from Ramsgate to Bournemouth in order to be closer to family, I broke out in a cold sweat. Not because I wasn’t happy for her – I was and I am – but because the organisational capacity of such an endeavour is a huge undertaking.

But, of course, I underestimated my friend’s ability to take control of such a move. She introduced me to a huge doorstop of a folder that she had created, with sub-folders upon sub-folders, covering everything from what she was selling to what she was buying, to transferring her utilities and coordinating her new plans for a life closer to her family.

Wow. There was so much to think about, and I was far behind the curve. My own planning for when I moved was fairly light by comparison – of course it was, I wasn’t even moving half-a-mile down the road and could see my new flat from my old place. Which made it even more remarkable that my friend was able to organise it all over such a distance.

I was naturally going to help Di move; that absolutely went without saying, and it was certainly nice to not have to be the one actually making the move. She was very welcome to the change, as much as everyone who knew her in Thanet was going to miss her, and I felt content to be an outrider – moving boxes, organising the paperwork, asking awkward questions of the lettings agency, and so on – whilst Di focused on the bigger picture.

The trip down was remarkably easy, although I struggled to last three hours without a wee, and I even survived a night on Di’s sofa. It was a recliner, so I actually had a remarkably pleasant sleep on it. What was odd was leaving Di there. We always associate our friends with particular areas, and my friendship with Di has always been predicated on the two of us always living in Thanet and making sojourns around the country on marathon duties.

As with every move, this one for her is the start of a new challenge, and I do and don’t envy her. I don’t envy her the move itself, with all the days of organisation and work that ensues, and I know she would reciprocate that thought. But I admire her for the courage it’s taken to make a change in her life, and the grit and determination with which she’s seeing it through. Could I do such a big move? Absolutely not.

The fact that my friend’s done it means that the nature of our friendship will change as well. We trained and practised for events two or three times a week, so we were very close parts of each others’ lives. We intend to continue being close parts, as our friendship is important, but it will be different – every friendship that undergoes a physical move will undergo a shift, and it’s down to the friends to make it work.

I’m fortunate to have a group of very solid friends and that’s something I am very glad about. Di will continue to be part of that circle and we’ll find ways of making that work.

I’ve recovered from my friend’s move – I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon as I travel back from the wilds of Bournemouth – but her work is just beginning. I just get a new place to go and visit on holiday, so you don’t hear me grumble about that! Good on you, Di – here’s to changes and fresh starts in life!

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