Another reader request post coming at you!
I get a lot of emails from girls struggling by moving and getting used to living in a new place, most often times hundreds (if not thousands!) of miles away from family and friends. Truthfully, moving can be (very!) scary and lonely…but it can also be a great time for self-growth and exploration!
When I moved to California in the fall of 2009, I only knew three people.
It was scary.
I didn’t have a place to live, my car was in transit across the country and my only job was part-time work at a local winery. I moved on big dreams and high expectations of California being a totally new and exciting adventure and life. For the first few days, I ran on pure adrenaline. Everything was new and exciting (like Trader Joe’s!) and I had found the cutest little house to live in—my first place all by myself. I hung my faded world map up on my bare wall, threw a comforter on the floor since I couldn’t afford any furniture and just drank it all in.
It felt surreal.
However it might have seemed to those reading my blog at the time though, things were not “perfect”. Sure, I had moved across the country to a beautiful area, had a cute house and a fridge full of groceries but I started to feel very, very lonely. I had left all my friends back East and had yet to make any real girlfriends in my new home. I filled up my nights working late at the winery, reading books and working on this blog. Being a natural introvert, it felt awkward and uncomfortable to go to social events where I knew no one and I didn’t really have any sort of community around.
But slowly, over time, things have definitely changed for the better. I started going regularly to a yoga studio here (the same studio I work at now), found a Church I love and started dating a wonderful sweet and funny guy.
My part-time job at the winery fizzled out once I threw myself wholeheartedly into the blog and my future book (to be released in August of 2012). Adam and I started exploring the amazing area in which we live.
Still, it hasn’t been all easy or perfect by any means! Moving somewhere new is a transition and total life change. I’ve been living here now for almost two years and JUST NOW do I feel like I have a solid community around me and good friends.
It took a lot of uncomfortable transitions—-putting myself out there when it was easier to just stay in the safety of my home with Dexter—to really feel like I “belong” here right now. And I say “right now” because as much as I love California, I know this isn’t my final destination. Who knows what the future will hold!
My best advice for taking on a new city is really putting yourself out there! Immediately plug into a Church or community group, join a gym or yoga studio and do those cheesy things that tourists do like guided hikes and kayak trips. The first people you meet in your new area might very well not turn out to be your new best friends, but they can be acquaintances!
You never will know if someone wants to grab a cup of coffee with you unless YOU ask THEM. They might be sitting around at home feeling lonely and your coffee date request might just make their day!
It might feel silly and uncomfortable at first, but I promise you’ll make it. Take this time to do things you’ve always wanted to do—read the books on your eternal summer reading list, play at farmer’s markets, cook your favorite meals and explore your new city. Feeling a sense of belonging in a new place certainly does not happen overnight…or even in a matter of months. But it will happen in time if you let it.
In the interim, make these. They always worked wonders for me.