How to Move to a New City and Be OK

When I was in Richmond a couple of weeks ago, Bryce and I got to talking about how much things can change in a year.

Our Holiday Card Photo ;)

Last November, he and Danielle had just gotten engaged. He didn’t live in Virginia yet, didn’t have a job, Danielle was working at a different company, and he and I hadn’t even met! I was living in Virginia, working as a teacher, barely making ends meet, and running 25 minutes slower than I do now. ;)

If someone told me at this time last year that I would be back in Michigan now, in a completely different job that I love, with the speed gods intervening in my running like whoa, I don’t think I’d have believed them.

Bonus points if you can name the title & artist

But really, it is amazing how things can change in a year.

Even though I came back to Michigan, moving to Virginia was absolutely the right thing for me to do. Yes, I needed to see that the horrible awful guy wasn’t as great as I thought he was. But I also needed to see that I could be completely and totally alone somewhere and still create a life for myself.

Sure, I struggled, probably more than I ever have in my entire life. I even wanted to give up–more than once–but I met some great friends who refused to let me.

I also learned that no matter where I go, no matter who I’m with, I will be ok. No, I might not always be happy, but I’m probably not going to always be happy anywhere. And yes, I probably will get lonely, but I’m still lonely here from time to time, too. The thing is, I’ve come to realize that I can be ok with just myself. I’m not waiting for some guy to fall in love with me and want to marry me so that my life can start. This is my life. I am a single, independent woman with a great family and a great job and great friends. I love running and cooking and blogging. I have my own interests and my own life, and I don’t need someone else to make it full.

That’s not to say I want to be alone forever, but as one of my match dates so astutely pointed out, why seek to fill a void you don’t feel? Right now, my life is full. And adding someone else to that should make it better, not stressful or confusing.

So how did I get here? Well, when I lived in Virginia, I did several things to make my life work. It wasn’t just going to unfold–I needed to seek it out, to make it happen.

1. Meetup.com

Yep, I met this crazy chick at a meetup group! Even though we didn’t click with anyone else in the group, we found each other, and that’s all it took!

2. Scour Your Extended Network

Some girls I went to high school with live only a few hours from Richmond in Raleigh, so I called them up, and we made a date! I hadn’t seen them in years, but they were totally up for meeting up. It was a great way to explore the area a little more and turned an otherwise lonely Sunday into a fun excursion.

3. Hang Out with Co-workers

When you’re away from your own family, you’ve got to hang out with other people’s! On Halloween, President’s Day, and Memorial Day, I wound up hanging out with my co-workers and their families. I’ve found that most people are more than willing to have an extra person or two at their gathering. Once you’ve hung out once, it’s that much easier to get together for a drink or shopping the next time. Instead of being shy about it, just go!

4. Join a Club or Group

I joined my first running group in Richmond–The Pavement Pounders. Granted, I did it all wrong. There was no one who ran quite my pace, so I ended up bringing my iPod along on every run instead of trying to run with people, but I did go to brunch afterwards. Even though I didn’t really click with anyone in the group, it gave me something to do, and it was good to go out and make myself be social when I really just wanted to stay home and be sad.

5. Give Yourself Goals

Before I lived in Virginia, I had only run one road race as an adult. But I found that training for something gave me the opportunity to work toward something. It was a challenge I really liked, so I kept doing it. While I was in Richmond, I ran 5 races–not too shabby!

6. Get a Hobby

Blogging was that hobby for me. It gave me something to focus on, someone to talk to. Even when I was feeling lonely, I got a lot of support from my sweet readers. And it also helped me to acknowledge how I was feeling (something I’ve historically been terrible at), rather than just pushing my feelings under the rug until I’m about to explode! ;)

7. Expect it to be Hard

Moving to a new place where you don’t know anyone is tough. It takes time. I loved living in Richmond, but it was still tough. I knew it was going to be hard, but I never knew it was going to be that hard. It’s normal to miss your family and feel lonely, even when you like a place. And I think that’s ok. Just as long as you’re not expecting rainbows and lollipops everyday. Then you’re going to crash and burn.

Those are my big takeaways. And like I said, even though I came back “home,” I know I can go anywhere now and be ok. That in and of itself is huge for me.

Have you ever moved to a new city? How did you make it work?

13 thoughts on “How to Move to a New City and Be OK

  1. Kriss Kross will make ya — jump, jump…

    So, I didn’t necessarily move to a new city by myself – but we did move back to Orlando after being away for almost 8 years and I knew NOBODY. All of my high school friends lived elsewhere. I put myself out there – even when it wasn’t a comfortable situation and I felt like I was inviting myself along. You really stop feeling like the 5th wheel after your 2nd drink :) I ended up with some really awesome friends (Paula being one of them!). It can definitely be hard, but really home is where you make it!! (so cheesy – but so true!)

    • Props for the KK! Now, where did I leave my overalls???

      I am all about the cheese factor, so go for it, girl! I even think I need to put myself out there more here, and I do know people. Just keep growing, right?

  2. i love this post and i love your enthusiasm! you have a great positive attitude which speaks volumes. i am a firm believer that we have to be completely happy with who we are and where we are and then everything else will fall in place. (i can honestly admit, i dont know if i am even there yet….. :o(
    however, these are some great tips. i have never moved to a far away place. new city but still same state, but i have tried these very things you state! i just recently joined meetup and i laughed about you meeting your friend there. a couple have been just plain weird. a couple have been just uncomfortable. lol. BUT i am putting myself out there. getting out and doing whatever is good for the soul. i would have never done that 3 yrs ago. as outgoing and friendly as i am, its just still awkward to go to a meetup group where you dont know a single soul……anyway, keep up that great spirit girl….it will take you down so many amazing roads! xo

    • I think it takes a long time! You just have to be open, and that’s what you’re doing! The meetups are kind of like match dates, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. You just never know!

  3. you are such an amazing woman – so many people spend way too long trying to fill up their lives with things they think will make them happy when in reality they just need to forge their own paths. you are wise beyond your years, my friend ;-)

    i can’t wait to continue to see how life unfolds for you, i just know that you have so many new adventures and blessings coming your way. <3 love you!

  4. I love this post. Those are all smart and savvy ways to make a new place feel more homey, and it’s nice to see it’s not as easy as it can look. It’s been hard for me (even 6 years later, being away from “home”)… It’s nice to see someone who hit the ground running with making their new place home.

  5. What a wonderful post! After college, after a tough breakup I also moved to a city where I didn’t know a single soul (not because of the breakup, but that’s where i got a job!), and although I lived in the middle of no where I found ways to do exactly what you did: find groups, hang out with co workers, hang out with college friends’ high school friends, and other things like that. For those 3.5 years I learned how to live bymyself, and be and independent woman. I traveled a lot to visit old friends, but I made a lot of lifelong new ones too. As lonely as I thought I was at the time, I now realize how important that time was for me to become me, do me, and not be molded by a life some guy I was dating wanted. I think every girl needs this time in her life!

  6. Neon Blonde Runner says:

    hahahah I was just singing that kris kross song yesterday myself! Can’t even remember why, but it was funny…I was remembering how they’d wear their sweatshirts backwards.

    I love this post. Beautifully written, words of a strong as heck lady!

    I have actually thought about you a few times recently, outside in the real world. I am going to be applying to schools that are in different cities and I get a little bit nervous thinking about that and living on my own in a new place and I think about how you are so strong and really conquered Richmond. You’re an inspiration :)

  7. This was a great post. It is so hard to meet new people once you are out of school! You seem to be doing well though, and I know your hobby is at least working out for you!
    Just remember that it is better to be single than in a bad or unhappy relationship. There is NOTHING wrong with being single. I think starting over in a new city can be exciting! It is a new and mysterious adventure.

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