I recently (if you consider six months ago ‘recently’) moved from my home of seventeen years in the Sunshine State to the northeast, which is currently experiencing one of the snowiest winters in recorded history. Why did I move? Well, for one, I am crazy. And two, I thought moving some place different after college would be an adventure, a fresh start, and exciting for my social media presence (I’m trying to say, “Look at me! I’m cool and spontaneous and just picked up and moved to this fun city,” without actually captioning any Instagram posts with that.) In short, I thought changing where I was would change who I am. At least I can say it’s not the first time I’ve been mistaken.
Now don’t get me wrong. Over the past six months, I’ve probably grown, evolved, and dealt with more difficult situations than I did in my four years of college but it was not a direct result of my relocation. You see, I thought by moving to a new place, a city no less, all these ideas I had for myself would come to fruition.
I believed within a month or two, I would be way more stylish, super athletic, the epitome of sociable, and basically just love my new life. As it so happens, I am still the one in charge of picking out, trying on, and purchasing my wardrobe, so aside from an exponential increase in the number of pants and socks I own, I’m doubting I’ll be stopped in the street and asked where I got my sweater from.
It also turns out, living in one of the top ten most active places in the United States actually terrifies me more than running on the dark, isolated road behind my old college apartment complex so my athleticism has not made itself known as of yet. Guess what else? I’m still shy. I enjoy watching Netflix and looking up useless movie trivia more than making the effort to socialize. I did not change!
Living in a new place will not give us new qualities. Unless we completely erase our memories, we cannot have a blank slate, just a new page. The only way to transform ourselves is by actively pursuing these changes, which is possible without an adjustment in location. Moving somewhere new can definitely enhance certain experiences, emotions, or possibilities. Based on population, there’s a greater likelihood of meeting new people from all walks of life in New York City than in Buford, Wyoming but going to New York will not instantly make us extroverted individuals with tons of friends.
Just as moving to Los Angeles is not going to immediately make someone a movie star. We have to make the effort. The desire to change and then act of changing are conscious decisions that require more planning than many of us would like to undertake, but think about how much it will be worth it.
Moving has made me realize a lot about myself. I have experienced things I never imagined I would in order to grow, change, and become the person I would like to be. Hell, writing this is something I never believed I would do. I’m a huge fan of moving somewhere to breathe fresh air but know that you will not be a new person as soon as your feet touch the unfamiliar soil; it takes effort.
So figure out who you want to be and where you would like to be that person, whether it is where you are right now or somewhere else. Just remember that going to the desired whereabouts is not the only step in the transformation journey. More than just an address needs to change in order for a life to change.