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.
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.
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.
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?