Moving to a new city is both terrifying and liberating. It’s like going off to college. You leave the safety of your home and everything familiar to you for something new and exciting (hello, freedom), only to find yourself filled with moments of worry and doubt, moments of loneliness, and moments where you’d give anything to go back home.
But you can’t. You’ve committed to this new chapter of your life and want to see it through. Moving to a new city by yourself is like that. You daydream about this new place, the things you will do, the adventures you will go on. You fantasize about creating a whole new life for yourself. You count down the days until the big move, and then you’re off, sailing into uncharted territory with nothing but high hopes.
Once there, you start to settle into your new home and city — everything feels fresh and exciting, you’re feeling on top of the world.
And then life smacks you in the face.
You begin to realize just how alone you are in a strange new place. Your friends aren’t a short car ride away anymore, and you can’t just pop home for mom’s home cooking to cheer you up. You start to question why you moved and wonder if you made a mistake.
I’ve been there. In fact, I am there right now, living in this place of uncertainty. But here’s what I know and live by to get through the hard times: if you want to grow and reach new heights in your life, you have to leave your comfort zone.
Moving to a new city requires you to leave your comfort zone just about every single day. Simple things like driving on new highway, going to a restaurant by yourself, finding a new gym, meeting new people, and all the things that were effortless at home will feel strange and uncomfortable in your new city. They will require you to be courageous and leap off the ledge between comfort and the unknown. And though scary at times, the unknown is truly a spectacular place to be. It’s filled with the light of possibility. Anything can happen in the unknown. Your greatest love, your biggest adventure, your dream job, they could all be right around the corner.
But you have to be open to receiving what lies ahead. If you get stuck in fear and doubt, you will close yourself off to new ideas and opportunities that come your way. You’ll be too busy fretting to see what’s right in front of you. If you’re stuck in fear, you’re less likely to take the big risks that could reap big rewards, and you’ll hinder your ability to meet new people or try new activities. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Isn’t that why you moved in the first place? To be your biggest, baddest self?
Leaving your comfort zone stretches and molds you into a new person. You start to take more risks as you conquer one fear after another. You push past mental blocks you didn’t even know you had. And you learn that no matter what happens in life, you will be okay. All this risk-taking and conquering makes you feel alive and confident, which in turn opens you up to new opportunities your former self wouldn’t have even considered. Maybe you decide to finally fork over the money for a career coach to start your own business. Maybe you go up the cute boy at the bar and ask him out. Maybe you commit to that scary workout class and end up in the best shape of your life. When you push past your comfort zone, you grow into a new, improved version of yourself, and in turn welcome new riches into your life.
It won’t always be easy. In fact, most of the time, it’s going to feel really hard leaving your comfort zone in your new city. We are creatures of habit, and we like feeling comfortable. It makes us feel like we’re out of harm’s way. But the thing is, you’re never fully out of harm’s way, so why not live your biggest, most exciting life?
Take baby steps in this process. Do one small thing each day that takes you out of your comfort zone, and as you build up your mental muscles, you will find it easier and easier to stretch yourself and do the hard things you once thought impossible. It will be worth it in the end. Even if you fall, which you will, you will stand up taller and stronger than before. As author Manoj Arora described it, “Coming out of your comfort zone is tough in the beginning, chaotic in the middle, and awesome in the end… because in the end, it shows you a whole new world!”
Moving to a new city by yourself is the ultimate test in leaving your comfort zone. It’s something everyone should experience once in their life. It’s a time when you’re forced to do things on your own, learn who you really are and how you want to show up in the world, and learn how to survive on your own. You will gain a new perspective on life, experience different cultures, and learn what makes your heart sing. And just like moving off to college, you will adapt to your new surroundings, you will make new friends, you will learn to navigate your new city. It just takes time. You can’t rush the process of settling in to a new city. You have to have patience and let it unfold organically.
If you’ve just moved to a new city or are considering a move, know this: there will be times when you’re happy and thriving, and there will be times when you question everything. No matter who you are or what your personality type is, there will be hard times. You will miss your friends and family and your old life.
But you were built with withstand hard times. You were built to adapt and grow. Trust that the universe has your back, trust the magic of timing, and trust yourself enough to know you followed your heart and made the right decision.