One night last month, while I was in the midst of moving out of the house where I had lived for nearly a decade, I found myself trying to make dinner with two pans, one fork and one knife — the only things I had not yet packed that were useful.
To distract myself from this sorry state, I turned on an episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and saw a father and son suddenly thrown into moving mode. A house flipper had knocked on their door and offered them cash to get out ASAP. But they were shown calmly putting random items into boxes that didn’t look as if they had been salvaged from a grocery or liquor store — as were most of my boxes — after which they stopped to have a leisurely heart-to-heart talk.
“That’s not how this works,” I yelled at my iPad, which was on top of the TV tray where I would eat while sitting on a paint-splattered folding chair, since I had just sold my dining-room set on Craigslist.
The move was one of the most stressful experiences of my life, in part because of all the moving parts involved — I had sold my house much more quickly than expected and needed to find a rental and storage on short notice — but also because moving isn’t something most of us do very often.
Richard S. Citrin, an organizational psychologist and a writer of “The Resilience Advantage,” said: “We build routines to make things as efficient as we can. When we move, we do something very foreign to us.”