Moving can be scary, but it can also be exhilarating.
Take it from me: I've lived in four different cities and three different states within the last four years.
There is a certain freedom that comes with a new address. Whether you're moving for school, a new job, your significant other or just because you decided you want a change of scenery, you need to be sure you're ready for the change that is about to happen.
The idea of living in a new place often gets glorified. You imagine yourself in new places making all these new friends and going on wild adventures, but that isn't always the case. A new start can be lonely, even if you don't do it alone.
Before packing up your things and starting life over somewhere else, ask yourself these questions:
1. Can you see yourself living there?
This new place, does it appeal to you? Make sure this is somewhere you can see yourself living. Try to find out what is in or around the area that peaks your interests.
If you love warm weather, you probably don't want to move somewhere where it rains nine months out of the year. If you hate traffic and don't want to give up your driving privileges, New York City may not be the best fit.
If you're going to live there — temporarily or permanently — create a timeline for your life there and ask yourself if you envision a future there for that long.
2. Are you moving for the right reasons?
This can be tricky because sometimes the right reasons can be vague, but making sure it's a choice that is yours is at the top of that list.
You have to be in control of the decision you're making for you. If you move for a significant other, or because you're worried of upsetting or disappointing someone else, you may come to resent or regret that person who influenced your choice later on. Of course, your situation is unique to you, just be prepared for the outcome if you find yourself in that position.
Make sure you are running toward a goal, not away from something else. Having something to look forward to and anticipate is a lot better than running away from a problem and looking for an immediate escape.
That sort of runaway behavior can catch up with you later on if you don't address it in a healthy manner.
Make sure you are running toward a goal, not away from something else.
3. What's holding you back?
You don't ever want to move somewhere out of fear of what will happen if you don't go. Conversely, you don't want to stay because you're scared to make any change whatsoever.
Of course, not every move is a well thought out decision, and people move on a whim and pick a spot on a map to live all the time.
But if you're seriously contemplating a change of scenery, look at the things that make you hesitant and you'll discover if the risk is worth it.
4. Will it make you happy?
At the end of the day, through the adjustment process and settling into your new home, will you feel a sense of fulfillment? Could you be happier somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else?
These questions are all going to cross your mind, but they all fall under the more broad topic of happiness. Take time to weigh out the pros and cons. Will it advance your life in a way that is positive?
There can be a whirlwind of emotions when leave a place behind, and it's easy to get down on yourself if you go into it with negative emotions or a poor outlook on the changes you are about to experience. Tread lightly.
Could you be happier somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else?
5. Are You Ready?
An obvious question with a not-so-obvious answer, but it's crucial you ask yourself this.
Sometimes the answer is an obvious yes, but occasionally, you need a little push. And if you're not quite ready for the commitment, that's OK too.
Take in all the advice you need from friends, family and co-workers, and ultimately make the choice that best suits you.
There are going to be so many scenarios/reasons someone chooses to pick up their life and start over somewhere new.
I've lived somewhere because I decided on a Thursday afternoon it was time for a change, and that following Tuesday morning, my car was loaded full.
I had no job prospects, no friends in the area and no reason to live there, but it ended up being the best decision of my life.
I've also turned down opportunities to live in places most would jump at because I had that voice in the back of my mind telling me it just wasn't quite right. Now I live in a place I've dreamed and planned on living in my entire life.
Moves can't always be mapped out; life is unpredictable and unexpected. But if you can answer these five questions with certainty and no shred of doubt, then take the plunge, move to the city, embrace the change.
But if you're not ready, don't feel the pressure to do it. The right opportunity in the right place will present itself when the timing is right.
Until then, continue discovering what it is you want out of your next new home.