4 Ways You Learn About Resilience After Moving To The Middle Of Nowhere
I don't know much about anything.
I actually know less at 26 than I thought I did at 16, but I don't underestimate my knowledge in one single area: moving away from the known, from my people and from my home.
I did it for for the first time less than two weeks after I graduated from college.
Off I went to a small town in the middle of nowhere, where not only were the people unfamiliar, but so was the culture and the lifestyle.
My bar tab never topped $10, and if it was even that high, it was definitely because I had a full meal on the side of my tequila shots.
Christmas lights were strung and proudly displayed all year round.
The biggest department store was Boscov's, which I drove 15 minutes to in order to to see any real signs of civilization.
After I spent the first year whining about all of those things, I realized the middle of nowhere was precisely the place where there was plenty of room for me to rebuild myself and my life.
I drank too much, laughed too much and learned about new things that made me happy.
I wasn't just smile happy, but soul happy.
Now, here I am, with another major move under my belt, trying to find any words of advice to give to someone about to trek halfway across the country for the first time.
Here are four feelings you will experience if you decide to take this leap:
1. You will be terrified.
The most honest thing I can tell you is you will be terrified of everything.
But in-between the scary moments are the moments when you'll discover your life is completely new.
There will be new food, new streets, new people, new trails to run, a new job and a new apartment.
All of the new is wildly exhilarating, but it's also definitely overwhelming.
It's lonely some days, and it's so full you think you might burst other days.
2. You’ll miss the familiar.
There will be days you'll miss the familiar so much that you can actually smell what you imagine your mom is cooking for dinner.
There will be days the windchill will be -20, your coworkers will push you to the brink of tears at your desk and you will drop your lunch all over the kitchen floor.
Those days will never cease to make you question what the hell it is you're doing in this unfamiliar city.
You'll think you could just as easily be in the place where your parents cook and make sure you have blankets, and where your friends only make you cry from laughing so hard.
3. You’ll get high on success.
And then there are the other days.
There will be days you'll be high on success during the day and drunk with new friends at night.
There will be the day you'll actually cook your first meal (one that consists of more than boiling noodles and is actually edible).
There will be the day you look around your apartment and feel proud it's clean because you cleaned it.
There will be the day you find your go-to pizza shop, become friendly with the cashier at the grocery store and recognize faces when you walk home from the metro.
4. You’ll learn to love a new home.
Those days will all come.
It took me every bit of a year to get there, but go outside, risk being vulnerable and shut down your fears enough to try.
I promise the unfamiliar will surely become familiar soon enough.
Being afraid is normal, but pat yourself on the back for being brave enough to quiet your self-doubt and take the risk.
It takes nothing but courage and faith, and I couldn't be happier for you.