It’s a known fact that all great stories start with the main character moving to a new city. Whether that be for school, work, or to fulfill a dream. Yet as we watch them grow and thrive in their new environment, we are rarely shown the reality of how hard moving is. Thus, when it’s our time to leave the nest, we pack bags full of unrealistic expectations and are met with disappointment. So, how do you move to a new city and not get crushed by your hopes and anticipations?
As a daydreamer that can never concentrate, I’ve spent my entire life with my head up in the clouds living in scenarios I made up. The most popular one often played on repeat is moving. Packing up my life into two suitcases and getting on a plane to God knows where. But as I mentally fill up those suitcases, write the best goodbyes, and picture strutting down the street, owning my new city, fear always finds its way to the back of my mind, ruining those dreams. Will I be able to make friends? Will this new city eat me up and spit me out? Will I be able to create my dream life? And instead of imagining said dream life, I begin to block it out, terrified of the change that will definitely accompany it.
However, there comes a point in everybody’s life where staying in that comfort zone with no growth becomes even more terrifying than your fear itself. And you would do anything to escape it, even if that means leaving everything you know behind and free-falling into something completely new. But don’t worry; this article will act as your parachute, guiding you safely to the ground and into your new life.
Make the Uncomfortable Comfortable
Whether you’re moving all the way across the world or to a new city two hours from your hometown, the process will, in many cases, always be mentally draining as you experience all types of anxieties. Therefore, it’s essential to make this move as comfortable as possible. How you do that differs from one person to the other.
Some might find comfort in staying over with family members or friends for the first few days or even weeks. Others might be able to feel comfortable once they familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. This could be through conducting extensive research about their new neighborhoods before moving or by building a small everyday routine to follow. Perhaps they’ll find a coffee shop, bar, or even grocery store that they love and revisit it to the point where they become regulars, greeted personally by the staff.
And who knows, maybe that’s how you’ll meet new friends!
Let Your Inner Child Out
Adulting is already hard, but making friends as an adult is even harder. Now imagine trying to make friends in a city where you know no one. Moreover, thanks to our ‘cherished friend’ Covid-19, so many of us work online even as the world goes back to normal. Not only have we forgotten our social skills, but we are no longer placed in buildings with about 200 other people every day to connect with and form relationships. How and where can we make friends?
The answer is to remember how you made friends as a child (in those simpler days) and try to do that again. Like a person’s yoga mat in a fitness class? Tell them. That simple action may lead to a conversation, which could lead to a coffee after class, and that may lead to coffee after every class, and voila! You’ve got a friend.
I have to let you know that this technique does not have a 100% success rate. And in the cases where it does, your new friendship might not have a 100% success rate. But that’s ok. The most important thing is to put the bag full of candy down (not speaking from personal experience), dust yourself off, and try again. That’s how you’ll meet your platonic soulmates waiting on you to find them.
Add the Word Yes to Your Dictionary
We’re all guilty of rejecting opportunities for the smallest of reasons. Whether that’s accepting a job offer or going out with friends. And usually, the reason we say no is because we were aiming for perfection. Whether that be the perfect job or the perfect outfit. Another reason why so many of us are quick to say no is because we convince ourselves it’s not the right time. But spoiler alert: there will never be a right time, and you will never be fully ready. So, say yes to everything.
Say yes to outings with people you’ve only met a handful of times. Say yes to your new neighbor’s request to help them move in. Say yes to the flyer you see in front of your building advertising a pottery workshop.
Now, I’m not saying throw caution to the wind. Never say yes when you feel that whatever you are agreeing to might be dangerous in some way. Never say yes if you feel uncomfortable around the people inviting you. But in those situations, when you’d usually say no out of everyday anxiety and fear of perhaps not fitting in or getting out of your comfort zone, you MUST say yes.
Moving to a new city takes a lot of guts. But I know anyone can do it. I mean, I did it! What’s important is to know when to go easy on yourself and slip back into a comfortable routine and when to be hard on yourself and force yourself out of your comfort zone.
Furthermore, just as you explore new relationships, work environments, and surroundings, don’t forget to explore the city and its people’s culture. That’s the only way you can become a true local. But don’t get too absorbed in this transformation from tourist to local that you forget your family and friends back home. Remember to call regularly and check-in.
However, the most important thing to remember is to breathe, relax, and have fun. With a change as significant as moving, you must realize that you will not be able to control every variable. Things will get crazy, hectic, and stressful. But in those instances, have patience and always look for those small moments of happiness. You might catch yourself frowning like a local at a tourist who’s stopped sidewalk traffic for a photo. Or have a great discussion with a person you bumped into while grocery shopping. And soon enough, you’ll look out your apartment window and realize that this once new city is now your city.
Photo: Look Studio/shutterstock
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