Stress is good, kind of

Updated on October 9, 2006

It’s said that moving house is one of the top three most stressful events in one’s life, the other two being the death of your spouse and losing your job.

While I can’t imagine what it feels like to lose your spouse, I have experienced a job loss before as well as moved house before. In both situations, I very much agree that they can be seriously stressful events as they strike at the heart of one’s sense of personal security and well being (think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).

So I expected to be wholly stressed out during this past week following our move last Monday from Amsterdam back to the UK. But that didn’t actually happen.

There was some stress, to be sure, related to the actual move and would our cat Jones pass unscathed through the UK’s stringent pet immigration system (she did thanks to her EU pet passport), would our stuff arrive on time and undamaged (it did but with a few items damaged), and organizing the myriad things you need to do when moving to a new location. Plus my own bit of stress related to balancing the move with the necessities of continuing to work under rather different and challenging circumstances.

Probably most of the negative stress my wife and I have experienced so far arose due to the fact that we have a lot of stuff (boy, are we accumulators of things!) and we moved from a large top-floor apartment in Amsterdam to a small-ish and gorgeous cottage with a garden in Wokingham, which is a pretty sub-urban place by comparison.

Would it all fit? we wondered. The short answer – no, it wouldn’t. So while we are surrounded by far too many boxes still needing unpacking and stretching our imaginations as to where to put all those things, I’ve rented temporary space from one of the many self-storage companies that are springing up all over the UK as the overflow for the time being.

We’ve also been largely offline since we left Amsterdam last Monday which, for both of us, is akin to the alcoholic deprived of his gin fix. Or maybe stopping smoking. Whatever it is, it’s definitely a peculiar feeling not being permanently online as we’re used to.

I have signed up for broadband internet service which should be installed here around the 17th. So another ten days or so to go of feeling (and being) disconnected.

Notwithstanding all the advice and opinions I received re broadband providers, I’ve signed up with NTL for their 10-meg service via cable. That decision was largely based on my direct experience in using the NTL service my sister has. I’ve been hanging out in her place from time to time this past week using her network, and I have to say
the service is excellent.

Mind you, I’ve had no reason to call tech support, which is where every negative comment I’ve heard about NTL is focused on. I’ll know whether I made a good decision or not when I make my first customer service call.

So we start our second week as returned expatriates, in our new home but not quite raring to go just yet. We’ll see how things look during the course of this week.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Garrison

    Been following this excellent blog for a while now but first time I’ve felt compelled to comment…

    At the end of this month I’m not just moving house but leaving London for the time in adult life! Coupled with bringing up my baby son (stay at home dad) whilst about to launch 2 web projects – one of which is a blog advertising platform for the travel and vacation industries.

    I have to say though that this is probably a cakewalk compared to what lies in store for me at the other end: changing my isp and broadband service!

    I’m not looking forward to that one and for me that will be when the stress really kicks in. That said, I’ve about 200 places in draft on my holiday/vacation blog so will time them to be published 1 a day whilst I await connection.

    Hopefully that will be achieved within 200 days!

  2. Sebastian

    Good to see that everythings seems to have gone rather well. I remember my last move from 15 months ago, it was actually pretty smooth. But I am not really looking forward to having to pack everything up again for the next move come February…

  3. Drew B

    Welcome back Neville. You’re not too far from me (the other side of Reading) and my stress is still lingering, along with the boxes, from my move two months ago into suburbia.

  4. Rachel S

    Congrats on the new move! As a college student I must say that I have moved 5 times in the past 4 years. And I will probably be moving again at the end of May this year. It can be extremely stressful, if you let it get to you. I found the best way to handle stress is to truly look at what you are stressed about and compare it to what is going on in the rest of the world. My stresses usually seem pretty trivial after that. That does not mean that they are not important, but it makes me understand that they are not life or death. Although I have never experienced the loss of job, I am currently experiencing the lack of a job. Along with thousands of other soon-to-be graduates, I am currently looking for employment after graduation in May. It has been extremely stressful thinking about what I will do for money, how I will pay the bills or have health insurance. I guess the best we can do is do our bests, and things will turn out ok!

  5. Neil

    Yes moving can be stressful, welcome to Wokingham, my office is there, and back to the UK. I have you to thanks for my gmail account invite so thanks again and good luck.

  6. neville

    Thanks, everyone, I appreciate all your warm words.

    Looks like I’ll be online sooner than expected – NTL tell me they can install broadband this Thurs the 12th, not the 17th. So as soon as I’m hooked up, I’ll be online in my accustomed manner which will give me a better chance to comment here a bit more.

    So later…

  7. Adam Keeshan

    I have always enjoyed moving from place to place while I have been in college. I think it is fun to move around (besided the actual moving part)to get different experiences from different locations in my town. I have lived in 4 different places in the past 6 years, but soon I will be leaving college and won’t have the oppurtunity or money to enjoy those benefits. I think the stress of moving will be rapidly approaching me and trying to figure out where I will even be going is hard enough. Hope you enjoy your new place!

  8. Dave

    Hi Neville

    Pleased the move went ok. How does it feel to be back in the UK – do you feel like you have ‘come home’ or are you of the view that we are all europeans now, and everywhere on our continent is home?

    It will be interesting to know whether NTL are aware that a fairly influential blogger is signing up to their network and whether that will affect their service standards on your install!

  9. Hugh Fraser

    Glad it wasn’t too stressfull. While you are waiting for broadband, why not try the joys of internet cafes? I always enjoy an hour or so out of the house in a different environment- and I can imagine you might want to get away from the site of packing cases.

    You might well be right to choose NTL. All the DSL stuff goes via BT’s exchange, no matter what provider you use. BT might have improved in the years you have been away, but not so that you would notice.

  10. Simon Wakeman

    Hi Neville,

    Welcome back to the UK – hopefully we’ll get the chance to meet at the Delivering the New PR session on 10 November.

    Plus I’m looking forward to hearing more about your “special announcement” in FIR this evening!

    cheers
    simon

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