Thought Catalog

How To Survive Your First Week Alone In A New City

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Flickr / tomokyo-blue
Flickr / tomokyo-blue

Acknowledge that you are alone. Do not try to hide this fact from yourself, or pretend that you are okay. Remind yourself that it’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to feel lonely, it’s okay to feel unsteady. Say this all to yourself, out loud or in your head.

The truth becomes a lot less scary when you’re not trying to avoid it.

It might feel a little harsher at first, but once you’ve mentally understood and accepted the situation you’re in, it becomes easier to handle it.

Comfort yourself with books, tv shows, phone calls, text messages. Tell your friends and family you’re nervous. Talk about it with someone. Let them remind you that you’re a strong person and that you can get through this.

Do not hole yourself up in your apartment. Even if it’s raining or freezing or snowing or unbearably hot, go outside. Walk around your neighborhood. Take a drive if you have a car. Do not feel the need to explore your whole city in one day. Just be present in the city so that you can slowly acquaint your eyes and your eyes and your mind to it.

Tell your thoughts to shut up when you start worrying about how you don’t know where you’re going. Accept that this is part of the move. You will spend your first month asking more questions than you thought imaginable, clinging to the GPS on your phone, never knowing which way is which, and feeling like a moron.

Once you’ve accepted that you’re going to be a moron in a new city, you don’t feel as much like a moron anymore. People are not going to get angry if you ask them a question, unless there’s something seriously wrong with them. You’re not walking around with a sign on your head that says “completely alone and confused.” Nobody is judging you.

Get out of your own head. Refrain from putting pressure on yourself. Understand that this new city will feel foreign to you for a little while. “Going home” will not feel like going home for a little bit. When you walk into your house or apartment at the end of a long day or after running errands, you may temporarily feel like you’re trespassing into someone else’s home.

That’s okay. Every day you will get more used to it, and you won’t even notice when you walk into your place one day and it just feels normal. The comfort you start to feel will sneak into you, without any grand gesture. It’s slow and easy and uncomplicated. That’s why no one wants to move and everyone wants to stay. Staying is easy. Moving is scary.

Most importantly, keep your eyes open during this entire experience. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Embrace it. You already did the hardest part – you walked away from your comfort zone. You chose to expand your world and to meet new people and to develop a new part of yourself in this new city.

It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be difficult. But the harder it is, the more rewarding it will be when you’re on the other side of it, when you’re basking in the glow of your new friends and your new city and the contentment you feel from having made it.

Hang in there. The best part is coming. TC mark

Kim Quindlen

I'm a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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