Moving. Possibly the scariest word for a person in their mid-twenties. The word itself extracts so many meanings. First, the physical, strenuous and stressful act of actually MOVING your things which only renders horrible flashbacks of being the last one to move out of your freshman dorm. Then, there are the emotions tagged along with the word moving. Leaving friends, your home, your pets and placing yourself in possibly the most vulnerable position you will ever be in your life. It is the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, or perhaps success. It is without a doubt the most challenging test of our faith, endurance and perseverance as human beings.
Stage 1: The departure and the denial that accompanies it.
It is the week before your departure, whether you are hopping a plane, train or automobile chances are your laundry is scattered throughout your room and the “packing list” you’ve been making for the past 2 months is 20% complete at best. You are in some state of denial, in that moving doesn’t feel real. You spend hours on craigslist searching jobs, apartments, dogs for sale etc. anything to put off the physical act of packing up your stuff and leaving, because it all feels too real. You wait until the last minute to see your friends, hug your parents, and face those long awaited good-byes that flood you with emotions of possible regret and the ultimate question, “Am i doing the right thing?”
Stage 2: The ACTUAL departure
This could technically be step 1 but it’s important we recognize the denial and procrastination that brought us here. This is where you will have most of your tears, fears and general overwhelming feeling of “Holy shit, what am I doing?” It’s honestly the best part of it all. It’s the part where you are sitting at your gate waiting to board, looking out at the plane that holds your destiny. If you do find yourself in this spot, and you have made it past stage 1, do yourself a favor and take this moment to congratulate yourself. Be proud of yourself. (it’s okay to cry). You are taking this HUGE leap of faith, and it’s yours. No one else sitting in that gate area is on the same journey as you, and that’s something sort of incredible.
Stage 3: Arriving/Vacation mode.
If prior to this move you up and quit your job, left responsibilities behind and are making this move to better your quality of life, then bravo! But at the same time, go slow. Arriving to a brand new place and starting over is something very exhilarating. Its a feeling like no other, and chances are you are going to reap all the benefits of living somewhere where no one knows you. But remember you are here to build a life, and that means you’re probably sticking around for a while. Take in all the beauty of your new home but do it in a way that doesn’t wear you out. Go out for those happy hour drinks with your new friends, but don’t party so hard that you’re too hungover to work the first day at your new job. So while you’re living it up, remember you still have to pay rent.
Stage 4: A whole mess of emotions
For me, it only took a week and a half to reach this stage. But I also tend to overthink everything in my life. So for some, it may be a month, year, or never if you’re lucky enough to be that care-free! Stage 4 is best described as the realization point of it all, including homesickness, anxiety and overall general fear that you might not make it. Its scary out there, and being new doesn’t help. My only advice here is to embrace this stage. It’s healthy to go through a negative set of emotions as long as you are dealing with them in a healthy outlet. Go for a run, climb a mountain, call your mom. But at the end of the day, just remember to breathe. If you’ve made it to this step you are already strong enough to conquer new and scary situations. I promise this step will make it all worth it.
Stage 5: Total acceptance and appreciation of your new home.
You still miss things back home, and thats fine! You tend to bring up your roots over dinner conversations but thats a good sign. You’ve made it to the point of accepting your new home and you love it. You try new things, you say yes to crazy adventures you never thought you would be saying yes to. You feel like you are becoming “one of them”, and you embrace everything about your new home and the people you share it with. Welcome to this beautiful stage of moving! You did it! Chances are this is where you will annoyingly pester your friends back home to use their vacation time to come visit you and eventually they’ll cave in and make the trek, yay!