Moving to a new city: Conversations with Self

Dear Me,

I know this isn’t the first time you’ve upped and moved, but that doesn’t mean it gets easier. In some ways, it’s harder every time – you’ve gathered more stuff, you now have another set of friends you’ll only see on Facebook, and each year you (and your kids) get older, moving is that much more emotional.

So take it easy on yourself if you have days when it all gets a bit too much. Here are some mantras to keep in your back pocket and pull out when you start to feel overwhelmed.

Your old life was not as perfect as you are making it out to be right now.

The temptation when you’re facing down the strange and unfamiliar is to remember all the great things about your old life. In some ways this is a good thing – how lovely to relive happy times when you’re feeling a bit low. In other ways it’s destructive. In your old life you still had to take the bins out. You argued with your three-year-old about putting her shoes on (and it was just as pointless then as it was this morning). The drains got blocked, you sat in traffic, it rained sometimes, you ran out of milk – all those things happened, as well as the great memories. Seeing your old life through rose tinted glasses won’t help you right now. Pull it together.

Familiarity breeds contempt content.

Even if there are things you don’t like right now about your new school run/ supermarket/gym/neighbours, in a few months they will become part of the landscape and you’ll either no longer notice them, or become grudgingly fond of them. Give it time.

You’re not the first person to feel like this.

Don’t be a hero, Me. Steve Jobs gave you an iPhone. Mark Zuckerberg gave you Facebook. Reach out to friends who’ve been in the same position. Or those who haven’t. Even if it’s just for a sympathetic ear, reach out. Thanks to social media, email, What’s App, Skype and FaceTime you never need to feel lonely.

You will find your tribe.

Right now it feels like everyone else is in a club you’re excluded from. You will make friends, and when you do, you’ll find there is no club. There are just people with things in common passing the time together. Hang in there and smile at people. You’ll soon feel like part of the furniture.

It is solved by walking.

Feeling blue? Go for a walk. New city, new places to explore – even if you get lost or it rains on your head, these early walks will be the best. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find some delightful and unexpected surprises if you get out there and pound the pavements, and it’ll be far better than cracking into the chocolate you hide in your bra drawer for emergencies. Put your earphones in and go.

Life is not meant to be lived in only one place.

Or maybe it is. But yours hasn’t been and you’ve done okay so far. You’re lucky to have a chance to experience new places and faces.

The friends you left behind will always be in your life.

Your best friends from high school are still your best friends, Me. And you’ve made more, wonderful friends as you’ve bumped along through the other phases of your life. The ones who have stuck will always be there. Okay, so the right-hand girl you called when your car wouldn’t start isn’t next door anymore but have faith – you’ll find a new right-hand girl. In the mean time, make sure the three-year-old doesn’t leave the car lights on so you won’t need to make an SOS call.

Fake it ’til you make it.

Me, just because you’re not yet completely convinced by your new hometown there’s no reason you can’t convince everyone else. Take pretty pictures and Instagram up a storm. You’ll soon be seeing the glass as half (or most of the way) full.

The good times are a’comin.

Although it hasn’t happened yet, believe me, Me, your new life is just waiting to give you some beautiful memories to look back on. You don’t yet know who you’re going to meet and what you’re going to experience, but you can be sure they’re about to form another layer in this beautiful life. The good times are on their way.

3 thoughts on “Moving to a new city: Conversations with Self

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