Five short months ago, I moved from Boston to San Francisco in just a short three-and-a-half weeks’ time. While it was for a job, and not just to move, it was a big decision and one I didn’t take lightly.
It’s worth it.
Moving across the country was one of the most uncomfortable decisions I’ve ever made. But I kept thinking if I say no, I’ll always wonder what could have happened. I’m glad that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and I’m very glad that it led me to San Francisco.
I get to start a new life and live in a whole new world. There are new neighborhoods to explore, restaurants to eat at, wonderful weather and a melting pot of different people to meet and to learn from. My daily running route (which I can pretty much do year-round, unlike in Boston) takes me past the Palace of Fine Arts and gives me a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the beautiful Marina. I’ve reconnected with old friends, made new ones, and extended my professional network well beyond the state border.
But it’s hard.
I think what many people don’t understand is how hard it is to move to a new place. Many say, “What an adventure! You’re living in a new city and you have so much to see and do.” But in reality, you’re starting a new job, working crazy hours in a city where you know very few people.
When I first moved here, I was working steady long hours, making it hard to meet new people. Because I threw myself into my work, I would often get to the weekend and have few friends because I worked so late all week. I was always too nervous to make week night plans for fear I’d have to cancel because I needed to get something done at the office.
I often compare my time so far in San Francisco to the first few months at college. You’d see all of your friends from high school’s pictures on Facebook and they would be having so much fun. You thought they had found their best friends already and they were invited to so many parties each weekend. Now I see pictures of college friends who have moved to new cities, and it makes me feel the same way. Though in both experiences people are really only posting their fun times to Facebook, everyone is likely having some hard times scattered in there, too.
Since I moved, I have to realize that there is going to be an adjustment period, and that it’s fine I’m still living in it five months into being here.
It’s okay to miss home.
It’s really hard when you have to start missing stuff that you would have normally done. For me, it’s been family dinners, sports games and weekends with friends. This is hard on you, as the person who moved, but also hard on the people you left. Your friends and family who saw you often have to have similar experiences without you there.
To be honest, I had such intense homesickness this past weekend. All of my closest college friends – two of which recently got engaged- were all meeting up in Virginia to celebrate. Not only was I missing out on this fabulous weekend, but I had no plans. Saturday I split up doing laundry and going to the grocery store so that I’d have multiple things to do that day.
Most weekends these days aren’t like that, but they occasionally creep up on me. I have a few groups of friends I can call, but it was just one of those weekends where my friends all had other plans. Also normally, I would have LOVED a weekend in doing nothing, but it was because I didn’t choose it that it made me so frustrated and sad.
When I’ve felt sad and frustrated about my adventure, these are a few of the things that have helped me:
- Get it out. Let yourself cry, but make sure you limit your sulking. Once I had a morning of homesickness, I let myself cry for thirty minutes and then made another plan for the day. Other times, I’ve given myself a whole day to just be sad, but that should be the longest you let yourself. Get out there!
- Find someone who lived it before. Whether it’s someone in your city or somewhere else, it’s helpful to know you’re not alone in being frustrated. I have chatted with a friend I went to high school with who made a cross country move a few years ago about my experience. It was good to know that she had a hard time adjusting, but ultimately found a home.
- Give it time. Just like in college, you’re not going to find your best friends overnight. Keep working at it and meeting new people.
- Plans can always change. While I would definitely say to give it AT LEAST a year before moving again, know in your heart that you can always go home.
Have you ever moved across the country? What was your experience like?