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Everyone tells me moving is stressful, right up there with life’s biggest burdens — loss, and grief.

For some, moving is a type of grieving. For me, it’s liberating. Usually.

Keepsake from Canadian friends: A gift before leaving for the U.S. in 2004. (Kathleen Kenna photo)

I’ve moved for school, work, and love, and admit not every move has been simple.

(Unless you’ve done a corporate move or two, then it’s really easy, because someone else does the packing, logistics, driving/shipping, the unpacking … and pays for it.)

But when you’ve moved a lot, trust me, it gets easier and easier.

I’ve moved 12 times in the past 8 years.

Before that, I moved a lot too — across continents, across borders, and across my own country — all for work.

I moved for war.

I moved for medical care.

I moved for selfish reasons (my gratitude forever for double fellowships, University of California at Berkeley).

And I moved for unselfish reasons — my husband’s school and work.

The worst? When I moved because of bone-crushing rent hikes by greedy landlords, then post-grad state cutbacks (San Francisco).

The best? When I moved for love — love as a newlywed, and love of the best job in the world (setting up a new international bureau in India).

The best job was lost to war.

The love?

Ah, that’s the sweetest part. Love endured despite war and worse; it endured grad school and post-grad study and career switches (both of us); it endured job loss, job gain, then job loss; and it endured 12 moves in 8 years.

I’m grateful for all the moves I’ve made solo, and almost all the moves we made as a couple (one was an escape from neighborhood violence).

I’m truly grateful for this current move, although it has all the big-stress indicators psychologists love to study: unemployment, uncertainty, and more.

Packing gets easier and easier; saying goodbye gets smoother.

Moving is a state of mind, I am certain now of that.

TOMORROW: The simple rule that makes every step of moving easier

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