All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.-–Benjamin Franklin
Which of Ben Franklin’s 3 categories do you belong to? I definitely fit into the “those that move” category. Since I was born, I’ve moved 19 times–including 2 moves at college. At last count, I’ve lived in 6 states up and down the East Coast and Michigan. Does this seem like a lot to you? As a basis of comparison, how many moves on average does an American make in his/her lifetime? Take this quick poll and find out.
In search of the answer, I did a little research on the U.S. Census Bureau website.
According to 2007 ACS data, a person in the United States is estimated to move approximately 12 times in his/her lifetime. (This number reflects no more than 1 move per year.) However, this number changes with age.
At 18, a person can expect to move another 9.1 times over the rest of his/her life, but this number shrinks by age 45 to 2.7.
All of this is interesting, but why do people move in the first place? For personal reasons? For jobs? According to the American Moving and Storage Association, the reasons are split almost equally between career moves (40 percent) and personal moves (42 percent). The remaining 18 percent are people who are relocated by the government or the military.
Perhaps, you think those of us with wanderlust are crazy. Perhaps, you are content to live in your hometown. Perhaps, you moved years ago and it was so traumatic you’d never do it again. So, what are the benefits of all this moving around? Moving is stressful. In fact, it is ranked third on the list of the most stressful events in life, right after death and divorce. So, why do it? Well, here’s my answer. It has given my family and me more job opportunities. It has allowed us to live in a variety of places–urban, suburban, rural. It has let us to explore different parts of the United States and move beyond our East Coast mentality. It has given us a greater understanding of America, with its diverse people and local cultures. If I hadn’t lived in Michigan, for example, would I have ever heard of the Polish treat paczkis or the Midwestern holiday Sweetest Day? If I hadn’t lived in New Hampshire, would I know about Ice Out (the day the winter ice finally breaks up on Lake Winnepesaukee) and the benefits of heating a home with kerosene? I doubt it.
Let him that would move the world first move himself.–Socrates
And what about you nostalgic ones–who remind me that our memories are forever embedded in this house or that street? Well, I would challenge you that our dearest memories are not rooted in places or in things. They are kept safe in our minds and hearts. Moving reminds us of that.
To see other interpretations of this week’s theme, just click on the link below. And have a great week, wherever you are and wherever you go!