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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lessons :: 3 Things I Learned After Moving 1300 Miles From Home (Guest Post)

Panorama of Denver from Lookout Mountain

"I’m going to move to Denver when my lease is up in Detroit."

I heard the words coming out of my mouth but I still couldn’t believe what I had just said. I was really doing it. I was going to move across the country to a place where I barely knew two other people.

I’m the type of person who, if I say I’m going to do something, then I’m going to do it. That’s why I couldn’t believe I had just told my mom I was moving to Denver. That meant I actually had to do it. I had to leave everything I knew and move to a city I had been to one time for a total of 48 hours.

Aside from being neurotic and having to follow through on everything I commit to regardless of the cost, telling everyone I was moving to Denver helped me in a way I wasn’t expecting. Their reactions shocked me. Most people simply responded with envy.

"Good for you. I wish I could move somewhere awesome."

"Get out of Detroit while you still can, I wish I had."

"If I were your age, I’d be doing the same thing."


After hearing so many regretful responses, I knew I would be in those shoes if I never moved. The truth was, all of those people could have moved if they really wanted to. But they didn’t. They made excuses, they got distracted, they had other priorities.

Rebirth of Detroit Graffiti

FIGHTING WITH MYSELF

That was probably the hardest part of moving. Convincing myself that I wasn’t making the biggest mistake of my life.

"I have a job in Detroit. What if I can’t find a job in Denver?"

"I have friends in Detroit. What if I can’t find friends in Denver?"

"I love living in Detroit. What if I hate Denver?"

"What if I miss my family?"

"What if I miss an important event?"


Finally, I figured out the answer.

WELL…WHAT IF?!

Will I die? Not likely. Will I be sad? Maybe. Will it be the end of the world? No.

The worst that could happen would be that I would be uncomfortable at best. And if I avoid making a decision that could massively impact my life for the better just because I’m afraid of being sort of uncomfortable…I’ll always wonder, "What if I hadn’t chickened out?"

So here I am, now. Four months in Denver. I found a job a week before I moved, I’ve made friends, and I’ve done things I had only dreamed of doing before I moved.

Things worked out almost too perfectly. I can’t promise the same for others considering doing something similar but I can promise that you’ll learn more about yourself than you ever thought you would.

If I had to sum up what I’ve learned from the move so far, I’d say there are three things that are most prominent.

GO IT ALONE

Obviously moving somewhere where you don’t know anyone, you won’t always have someone to do things with. But you’ll always have something you want to do (unless you move somewhere weird, then…who knows). That’s the dilemma. So many things to do, so little people to do them with.

You’re going to have to learn to enjoy your own company and be comfortable doing things alone. For introverts like me, sometimes this is a dream come true. Go on a hike without anyone to hold me back or ask me dumb questions? SIGN ME UP!

Other times, it’s lonely. Like when there’s a cool brewery down the road from me but I don’t really want to go alone because I’m too awkward to make friends with strangers around me.

You get used to it. It’s just something you have to deal with until you make some friends.

Yoga at Red Rocks Amphitheater

LEARN TO LOVE THE AWKWARD

I am notoriously…super awkward. I don’t know what it is, but when a stranger talks to me, I immediately forget all words in the English language and how to form a coherent sentence. I walk away from every social situation and immediately think of the perfect thing to say.

Being somewhere new, I’m literally always talking to strangers. And I’m learning a lot in the process which is slowly making me better at meeting new people.

I’ve realized that my social skills will never improve if I sit at home and read books or blogs or watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix for four hours straight. I just have to keep putting myself in awkward situations until they’re not awkward anymore.

In Detroit, it was easy for me to be social without ever getting into an awkward situation. It’s a small city and everyone knows everyone. If I wanted to be social, I could hang out with people I knew and not have to worry about that awkward "Hi, let’s get to know each other" conversation.

Here, things are a bit different. However…

Hiking to the top of Mt. Bierstadt

IT'S A LOT EASIER TO MAKE FRIENDS

Well, I think it is. I don’t know about you but, "Hi. I just moved here and don’t know anyone." is the easiest way to make an awkward situation seem totally normal.

Luckily, most people in Denver are not actually from Denver so I always have great conversations with people I meet about how and why they moved here.

Don’t get me wrong, people aren’t just going to come knocking on your door asking to be your friend, you have to put yourself out there, first. Go to a Meet Up, visit a church, join a gym, take a bike ride on a Saturday afternoon (seriously, I made a friend at a stoplight), just put yourself in social situations.

Once you’re there, making conversation isn’t so bad.

Moving across the country was probably one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made but I knew it was something I had to do to grow as a person. It hasn’t been easy and plans have changed but I don’t think I’ll ever regret it and I know I would have regretted not moving.

If you’ve ever considered moving, do it. Personally, I think it’s something everyone in their 20s should do in order to really get a sense of themselves. When you’re away from everyone you know, you stop being a reflection of everyone around you and start coming into your own. And what’s the worst that could happen? You can always move back if you hate it.

Oh, by the way…I’m Alysia and I write about spiritual and physical health on my blog, Equally Yolked. If you like what you read, feel free to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Bloglovin! And check out my other guest post on this blog!
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