“I think I want to go to college in California” Those were the 10 words that changed the course of my life when I was just 19 years old. It was a big decision, probably one of the biggest decisions I have ever made. I grew up in Washington state and I loved it. The town I grew up in was small enough to run into people you knew everywhere but big enough to find new places to explore regularly. I always dreamed of running away to a new place one day but I did not think it would be a reality. For me, the idea of picking up my whole life and moving some 1,100 miles away from everything I knew was terrifying. It was not a decision I took lightly. I prayed about it, talked to family and friends about the possibility and ultimately made the decision to apply to a college near Los Angeles. Well, I got in to that college, packed up most of my life (sorry mom and dad, you still have some of my stuff all these years later) and made the move to California.
Some days were hard, I would just sit and cry. I worried I made a mistake in moving because I missed my family, friends, my dog, my car, a smaller town life. I missed knowing where places were and running into people around town. One of the biggest things that kept me sane during that transition period was the sense that I knew I made the right choice. It was a daily struggle in the beginning but slowly that started to lessen. I began to meet people and make this new place my home. It was not easy at the start but whether you move for college, a job opportunity or even love, I have some few tips that will hopefully make that transition easier:
Tip 1: Get involved
Do this quickly! Join a gym, book club, volunteer group, church, theater..whatever you like to do, try to get involved soon. You will be much happier if you are getting out there and meeting others. Which leads me to my next tip perfectly…
Tip 2: Go out and meet people
Meeting people and making new friends is a big must. You need people in your life that you enjoy being around. If you are able to join a group of people who like the same activities as you do, you will find much more joy in your new place.
Tip 3: Accept your new life
It is okay to be sad and miss people. Trust me, they miss you too. But do not dwell on it. Do not let that become regret. Begin to accept that this is your new normal. You will truly enjoy your new town much more if you can let go of your past lifestyle and adopt a bit of a new one. Learn where your new favorite coffee place is or where the stores you like are located. You will be shocked to know that many people do not invest any time in their new town when they move there. I am not saying to never speak to people from your hometown again or just to write off your past, remember that it is okay to allow yourself to accept this new path.
One of the most important things to me is to not allow yourself to regret your decision on those tough days. Sometimes moving away is exactly what you need to do. It is okay to move away because each choice we make is a life lesson and experience. I moved 11 1/2 years ago. Do I miss my family, friends, hometown? Everyday. But if I let myself go to a place where I am miserable, I would not be able to enjoy the life I have built here.
Have any of you moved away from home? How was that transition and what advice would you give others who are thinking about moving? Let us know in the comments!