Moving to a new state where you don't know a soul can be a bit intimidating, but that's exactly what I did. Life's all about taking those crazy risks and being brave, amirite?
It's been about six months since I embarked on this new journey of conquering a new town and it has been a ride. Among the many things I've learned about living away from everything and everyone I know, there are a few key qualities that stick out to me as being helpful when making a new start in a new town.
When you live in a place for a certain amount of time, your perception of the way the world works begins to stay on a set path. Falling into cultural norms, being surrounded by the majority ethnicity and not realizing that the whole world doesn't work like that are all common traits of the perspective pit.
Yes, going on vacation to faraway lands can open your eyes a bit to the way others live and breathe, but it's when the grocery clerk starts knowing your name that you know you have a solid start on seeing how that town works.
It's having the perspective to say yes when your yoga instructor invites you to do acro-yoga with her and her girls. It's having the perspective that talking to strangers is now a good thing because you've realized that everyone has a unique story.
From having your roommate's closets to look through to having your dad around the corner to help move furniture, it wasn't until I moved away that I realized how capable I am of doing stuff on my own.
When you have friends and family in the same town as you, it's so easy to call them up for help, but what happens when you don't know anyone? What happens when World Market has a sale and it's not until you get home that you realize you have to carry that new kitchen table all the way up a flight of stairs by yourself?
While this got a bit flustering at times, I quickly turned the frustration into a challenge. A challenge within myself to become more independent and figure things out on my own. This is still an ongoing process, but let's just say I now go into World Market with my hair tied and sneakers on.
This is probably one of the best qualities I've gained while being far away from home. I have gained so much appreciation for my family and friends. Everyone has those friends they can call to pick them up from a bar or to go to spin class with, but when you move over 1,000 miles away from your friends, valuable relationships are truly proven.
Let's be real, just because a girl you used to do everything with hasn't picked up the phone doesn't mean she doesn't care about you -- everyone gets busy. However, it's those friends you talk with constantly, those friends you FaceTime while covered in a face mask and those friends who genuinely care about never losing the tight bond you two hold. At the end of the day, distance means so little when someone means so much.
Additionally, my appreciation for my parents has grown throughout this whole journey. I have always been close with my parents, but moving far away has shown me the extent they went to to be good parents and the sacrifices they made to give my sister and I a good life. In college I would always love going home. Yes, the free wine and recordings of Modern Family were great to look forward to, but it was something about being in that house that gave me comfort.
After my parents came to visit me in my new home, I realized it wasn't the house that gave me comfort, it was my mom and dad. They encompass that “at home” feeling and sometimes, all it takes is not being “just a drive away” anymore for you to realize how important your parents actually are.
This is a biggie. Remember how I mentioned different types of cultures and different types of people everywhere you go? Well, being open to new things will make your transition to a new city so much easier.
Openness is something I always remind myself of because without it, I wouldn't have made some of the memories in my new home that I already have.
For example, I went to the PGA Open in Scottsdale a month after I moved here. I hate golf and to be totally honest, I only went because I got a free ticket that was legit and worth the same amount of my monthly rent. But I made some pretty cool memories with some friends at work. Also, I funneled wine through a flabongo (flamingo-shaped bong) and yes, I said “funneled wine” and no, I did not keep it all down.
The point is, when you're open to doing new things with new people, it makes the transition of moving a lot easier. Plus, who wants to be in a coffee shop by themselves on a Saturday night? Actually, I'm literally in a coffee shop by myself and it's a Saturday night but as a disclaimer, I'm still detoxing from Vegas last weekend. Which is a whole other story.
There you have it, ladies and gents, the four key qualities I've learned are key moving to a new town and things you should keep in mind if you are about to take the big leap yourself. And always remember, you can't always leave home, but you can always go back.