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Moving pains - Joel Hall

After a death in the family, divorce, or severe illness, moving is supposed to be one of the hardest things to do.

However, I usually don't relate to people who are depressed about moving, because I've lived such a transient life.

Before turning 18, I had moved at least 15 times, and had lived in more states than I could remember. I had spent time in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Delaware, North Carolina, and Virginia and attended multiple school systems.

I've left behind, or stored away, all of my earthly possessions, in order to move to Georgia for college, study music in Austria, and live in Japan for work.

I've gotten quite used to being ripped out of my environment and transplanted somewhere new, to the point that I actually take pride in it.

My ability to adapt to new circumstances is one of the things that I usually put high on my resume.

Given the fact that some of my moves have taken me halfway across the world, I was surprised when I became overcome with nostalgia and stress when I moved only a few exits down the highway.

For the past three and a half years, despite moving once, I have been a resident of Clayton County. This weekend, I moved out of the county for the first time since I started working for the local newspaper.

It's amazing how living close to where you work can make a difference in how you do your job.

In some ways, it makes my life a little more difficult. If there's some kind of weekend catastrophe that can't wait until Monday to cover (the Mother's Day tornado in Ellenwood a few years back is the first one that comes to mind), I don't really have an excuse not to be the first one on the scene. It's not like I can say, "I'm too far away."

In other instances, it makes my job a little bit easier. As a political reporter, people ask me which county I live in all the time. Some people do it just to see if I am a taxpayer, and if they can have my vote.

I like those people. Most of the time when people ask me where I live, it's because they assume I live in Virginia Highlands, drive an Audi, and don't care about the Southside.

I would have to say that the most annoying interviews I have to conduct are with people who try to turn the interview on me to test how much I know, or care, about Clayton County. I've always enjoyed being able to make those people eat their words by telling them, yes, I live right over there, and I don't like that, either.

Alas, I will not be able to do that again, at least for awhile. Despite the fact that I've only moved next door into Henry County, I may lose a little bit of my Clayton street cred.

My heart, however, hasn't quite made it over the county line. I still find myself doing most of my shopping in Clayton and most of my weekend recreation in Clayton. I still get lost on the way to our Henry office, which is pretty embarrassing, but honest.

For those reasons, I think my heart and my writing will continue to stay in Clayton County, despite the fact that I may rest my head elsewhere.

Good or bad, Clayton is a lot more interesting to write about, anyway.

Joel Hall covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at jhall@news-daily.com.