10 Ways to Settle In
I've written a lot throughout and about moving — mostly, if not all, good things, because this move has been mostly, if not all, a good thing.
But lest you think I am A) superhuman or B) lying (looking at you, skeptical friends and family with your "everything seems great... ON INSTAGRAM" comments), there are, of course, moments that moving sucks.
Those times have been very few and far between for me this time around, thankfully; but they're there, and in the moment, they feel like the worst. They feel like you're a puzzle piece that jumped to a different box and fits nowhere.
Feeling the weirdness of a move is inevitable. Wallowing in it, though, is not. One of the most important things I've learned over the course of many moves is how to fight the weirdness with a few good strategies. Here are my top ten — chime in with yours if you have them!
Run or walk. This combines physical movement, the chance for some mental space, and being outside. All three are tremendous antidotes to a funk.
Drive. I've touched on this before — how both running and driving let me feel like I've caught my body up to my brain and set them in balance — but on an even simpler level, driving is sometimes just a declaration to myself and the universe that I have the means to go. When moving is strange and I feel out of place, sometimes all it takes is a reminder that if I want to leave, I can, dangit! to make staying put and riding it out feel less like being trapped and more like making a choice. That's a little thing I like to call psychology, folks.
Find something familiar. You have to be careful with this one, because it can occasionally intensify rather than alleviate the situation; but sometimes seeking out a little shot of wherever it is you miss is all it takes to feel more at home. When I was living in Colorado after college and missed Lynchburg, I drove to an ice rink on my day off and skated for a couple hours. When I miss Austin, I go to Whole Foods and just kind of visit the kale. When I miss Houston, I smash someone's car window in and steal their purse.* You know, just little things that remind you of that place, wherever you are.
Call your friends. Or your mom. Or both.
Tell your new friends how you're feeling. Small talk and pleasant hangouts are all good and fine, but I've found that it's not until I risk a little vulnerability and let people in on less-than-good moments that real relationships and trust begin to build. I've been lucky enough to find a few people here, quickly, who I can admit hard days to — and letting them in on that has only deepened those friendships.
Bible. Prayer. More than anything else, returning to Scripture and the God who spoke it is a firm reminder that I didn't just randomly choose to move on my own — I followed a good God. And if that's true, then wherever I am and whatever I'm doing is infused with eternal purpose.
Brainstorm. Chances are, if you've moved somewhere, it's for some reason — usually a job, in my case and season of life. Sometimes getting myself stoked on the task at hand by scribbling down ideas or mapping out a potential project is all I need to remind myself of the why behind my where.
Writing. Similar to the above. Whatever your personal craft is, turn lemons into lemonade and use your negative feelings as creative juice. Writing about the weirdness helps me process it (see: this blog post), and I get some practice out of the deal, too.
Go. Sometimes, you really do need to just go to wherever it is that you miss. You need to hang out with people who already know you. You need to drive around some place where you don't need a GPS, go to a restaurant where you already know the menu, watch a game with people who are rooting for the same team. It doesn't change the fact that it's not home anymore, but sometimes, going back is just what you need for a bit. And that's okay.
Lean in. I realize this sounds eye-roll-inducing, but put yourself out in the future and recognize that you won't feel this way forever. In a day, a week, a month, a year, you're not going to feel like this. Things will change, slowly but surely, and the place you are now will be what that place you miss is. It just takes time; which means, to my mind, that the more I invest, the shorter that process gets. Avoiding the weirdness, running away from it, trying to escape the discomfort of new by keeping one foot in the old — it all just prolongs that transition season. Don't do that to yourself. When you have a hard day in the new, lean in; because in the not-so-near future, the new will be old. Promise.
*Joking! Just joking you! Joke joke joke.