8 Things 20-Something Experience Before Moving To A New City

So I promised myself I’d never succumb to the obnoxious Internet list trend, but seeing as my entire life lately has taken the form of a list, I could hardly avoid it. Endless to-do lists, shopping lists, my “before I move” bucket list, packing lists, fucking Craigslist, and finally, the list to justify all the other lists…the “Lessons you learn while Moving” list.

1. Your impending move simultaneously becomes your excuse to do everything and nothing at all.

Once you make your decision to move, your entire life gives way to an awkward conundrum of “Fuck it, it’s my last chance to ______! #YOLO” and “Eh, fuck it, I don’t need to ____, I’m leaving soon.” Suddenly, you find yourself justifying every action, both lazy and crazy, with “because I’m moving.” And since you must be highly selective of how you spend your limited time, you err on the side of selfishness. Cover for someone at work? Nah, they’ll understand. If not? Oh well! Go out on weeknights? Definitely, gotta do it while I have the chance! Eat at a ridiculously overpriced restaurant just because it’s trendy? Of course, what if my new city doesn’t serve maple cheddar bacon burgers? Clean my apartment? Pay my parking tickets? Expense lunch for the next 2 weeks? No. No. Yes! Your internal dialogue develops a bad case of bipolar disorder brought on by sheer lack of concern/control over anything. I didn’t have an issue with my newfound liberated spirit until I realized it was turning me into a socially illiterate monster. Say “I’m sorry” for swiping someone’s seat on the bus? Ignoring someone’s call? Blowing off a meeting? Eh, it won’t matter once I move…

2. Moving companies are operated by underhanded gypsy smugglers.

When did the moving industry become some kind of twisted black market out to strangle poor helpless individuals in need of their services? Turns out, you cannot even Google the word “moving and storage” without having your personal information distributed to every ravenous Internet vulture that owns a van. After receiving like 25 phone calls and emails from “moving brokers” about your upcoming relocation, you’ll be given some BS estimate of what they think it will cost to move your stuff and then make up how they’re “cutting you a deal” because of some BS promotion they’re probably not actually running right now. Aware of the fact you’re dealing with dozens of other phone calls just like theirs, they proceed to trash talk their potential competitors and reassure you that they’ve “never had anything break or arrive late.” Be weary, as their online reviews will reveal otherwise…

3. You cannot escape the stereotypes of your new city….

Get ready for like 23021393 jokes about how much it rains in Seattle, how Chicago makes people fat, or how everyone in Denver is a pothead. Wherever you’re chosen destination may be, know that everyone you meet will now rely on some exaggerated stereotype to question your decision to move there.

4. …And everyone you know knows someone who knows someone who might still live there.

It’s safe to say that you will never, ever be without friends random strangers to call on in your new homeland. As soon as you tell anyone you’re moving, nine times out of ten they will jump at the chance to tell you about their cousin’s brother’s wife’s friend who lives there, too. Surprisingly, the people quickest to offer these arranged friendships are usually people you’re not even very close with now. It’s like, we don’t even hangout here, but your random old friend may be exactly what I’m looking for once I arrive in my new place? Usually they’ll insist on connecting you with their acquaintance and awkwardly give you that person’s contact info (or Facebook name, like a true millennial). While I know this is done with good intentions and I appreciate everyone’s concern for my potential loneliness/inability to meet friends on my own accord, do you really think my go-to phone call is going to be to your ex fraternity brother you haven’t seen since he moved home after college? Ehh, I’ll keep the number just in case…

5. “I can’t wait to visit you!!!”

…your parents will likely be your only visitors.

6. At work, you instantly go from being terminally busy to feeling terminally ill.

Once it’s announced, your transitional status starts to feel like some kind of office STD—it’s on everybody’s mind when talking to you, but nobody feels right asking you about it. Apparently, no matter how close you are to people at work, it’s taboo to discuss people’s upcoming departures. I never predicted the awkwardness that would ensue once coworkers became aware of my move, and it suddenly felt like I announced I had two weeks left to live. Chances are, these are people you’ve spent more time with than your family for the past few years, and if you’re lucky enough to love your coworkers as much as I do, you’re saddened by the fact that in a matter of weeks, they’ll suddenly and completely disappear from your life (aside from the ever-obligatory “Happy Birthdays” on Facebook). You’ll go from seeing them every single day to probably never again. Your awkward office-mandated going away party will hardly justify all the good times you once had.

7. You cringe at everyone’s inevitable last question: “So when is your going away party??!”

This comes pretty standard once you get through #3 and #4. If you’re like me, the only response you can come up with is “first let me figure out where I’m living or how I’m getting all my stuff there…” To the disappointment of your friends, party planning falls low on the priority list.

8. You start to love everyone and everything irrationally but wholeheartedly.

The surge of sappy emotions following my decision to move have ranged from nostalgia, to excitement, to stress, and it’s safe to say I’ve had more feelings the past few weeks than ever in my life. And these aren’t just your typical feelings—they’re unpredictable, erratic and impossible to control—like some kind of emotional orgasm. Evidence of this sentimentality exists when I suddenly find myself staring lovingly at things that once irritated me or simply went unnoticed in my everyday life. The subway is suddenly endearingly dirty, my small studio apartment now seems just the perfect size, rush hour traffic and the unreliable bus schedule has become a reminder to slow down and enjoy the ride. Even Chicago’s lethal potholes suddenly seem like charming pieces of my city’s unique character. You really start to appreciate life—every miniscule detail of it—once you realize it’s all about to change beyond your control. This newfound sense of wonderment makes all the other moving-inflicted headaches worth it, as I doubt I’ll ever again feel as grateful towards my current location or as loved by everyone I’m leaving behind here. I’ve realized this transition has put me in one of the most unique phases of my life and it’s better to approach my new place with an open mind rather than a deadline. You can’t control your moving company, cost of living, or crazy new landlord so you may as well just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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