Friday, January 2, 2015

Adjusting to a New City

"City of Seattle: One" by John Tregoning is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Moving to a new city is a brave step, whether it’s for a job or because it’s a place where you have always wanted to live. It can be a tricky transition from old life to new life, but if you go into a move like this with reasonable expectations and a plan for putting yourself out there and making friends, life in your new city will be more fun than you could imagine! Keep in mind these tips from Apartment Therapy.

Say yes to everything. You need either all or some of the following life essentials in your new city: friends, a BFF, a boyfriend/ girlfriend, and a job. You won't find these by sitting at home and ordering delivery while watching Bravo. Get out there! Go to everything people invite you to. Remind yourself that you are on a mission to find these life essentials!

Ask to be set up on friend dates... or date dates. Welcome to the way grown-ups make friends. We're not in college anymore. Ask your BFFs in your current city if they know anyone in your new city. Ask your family if they know anyone who might be a nice friend for you. Scour Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and whatever other social media you're on and find out who from your network lives in town. You might be surprised.

Join organized groups. From nonprofit volunteering to kickball leagues, even if you don't normally consider yourself a joiner, joining something is a way to meet new peeps. Start with a hobby and find a group. Even better: find something you've never done before. Being a beginner is a great way to connect with other people who are also beginning; you feel awkward, they feel awkward, bingo: new friend.

For your first 6 months, stay somewhere comfortable. You are in a new city, it's all strange and unfamiliar. You don't know where CVS or the grocery store are or who your BFF will be. You don't know the good neighborhoods from the okay neighborhoods from the bad neighborhoods. You don't know the secret side streets to cut around traffic. You don't know the cool bars, the cool restaurants or where the best farmer's market is. So instead of adding to the stress, I encourage you to stay somewhere comfortable for your first chunk of time... while you get used to your surroundings. "Comfortable" means something different to everyone. For me it meant splurging on a temporary apartment in a pricey area where I feel really safe and free to explore my surroundings. For you it might mean living with a friend or relative temporarily even though you know that long-term you want to be living alone.

Give yourself a year to acclimate. Anytime you start thinking "OMG, this was a huge mistake!," "I was so stupid for thinking this was a good idea!" or "I'm never going to like living here and I'm going to die alone!" — and, trust me, it will happen — remind yourself that things are still in transition, moving is hard, and you are giving yourself until you have a year under your belt before making any overarching judgements on the move.

Don't forget about your friends and your network from your former city. You have it easier — you left. I've always believed that the "mover" has it easier than the person left behind. You're out exploring a new city, having new adventures, learning new things. Your old pals are in their same routine and probably missing you. Don't forget about them. Make an effort to keep in touch and to go back and visit from time to time. Yes, it will be hard — you're not sharing all of their day to day adventures and even a small time difference call be awkward — but soon enough things will fall into place.

How did you adjust to life in a new city after a move? Share your thoughts!


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