Folks from the St. Louis Chapter of Super Heroines, Etc. know that I recently moved from St. Louis to the Cincinnati-area. I’m one of those people who moved for love and have no regrets, even though I miss St. Louis and my community there.
I was inspired to write this essay in part to grapple with my feelings on my move, and in part because I have moved several times in my life and hope to share the lessons I learned with each moved. I want to share the good and the bad – the excitement and the sadness that comes with leaving your home and settling in a new one.
For three years my fiancé struggled with finding a position in St. Louis. He had student loans, I didn’t. And, as it turns out, my skills were highly marketable in Cincinnati. Having been here a month now, I know the move was a great decision. My new job has opened up many possibilities for future advancement, and I have a part-time job with another organization just to keep myself in my field (museums). We’re renting a house with enormous rooms and a good-sized backyard for the dog. I live in a quiet but vibrant community only 20 minutes from work.
Anyone who has ever moved knows that, despite your best intentions, your promises, and even what your heart wants, it’s incredibly hard to keep in touch with folks while simultaneously opening yourself up to new friendships. Some days you may feel particularly drawn to just sitting in your room, spending the whole day on the phone with your besties from back home. Other days you may do your very best to reach out to new folks, which then leaves you feeling like you haven’t kept in touch with your friends from back home. But if you don’t try to make friends in your new town, will you ever feel connected?
I’m lucky in that my fiancé is here and he has old friends that have welcomed me into their group. I’m unlucky in that it’s prevented me from stepping outside of the box and meeting other people. Part of this is due to my fiancé and I being long-distance for so long that it’s hard for us to not try and spend every possible second together. Part of this is due to the fact that I work with only one other person. And part of this is because I’m scared, like many people, to put myself out there.
Now that you’ve gone through my emotional rollercoaster of moving, I’m going to share my personal tips on embracing the move while still connecting with your people.
It’s Good to be Happy, But You Can be Sad Too
Almost everyone I talked to before my move asked me “are you excited?” And yes, I was excited – still am excited. But I was also sad. And everyone telling me how happy I should be and how excited I was supposed to be, didn’t really help with processing those emotions. Just let yourself feel how you need to feel so it doesn’t get bottled up. If you’re sad for an extended period of time, however, you may want to consider seeing a mental health professional.
Try a New Hobby
For years, I’ve had a list of things I’ve always wanted to do: learn a language, learn to embroider, and so on. When I lived in St. Louis, I always had an excuse for not doing those things because I was always so busy. Now I don’t know anyone, so my social calendar is mostly free. I’m taking advantage of this by seeking out classes through the extension at the local University and looking for opportunities to volunteer with cool non-profits.
Join a Group
When I moved to Oklahoma in 2011, I knew no one. On top of that, my job was stressful and in many ways not the right fit for me. That’s when I signed up on Meetup.com to try out various groups. Sites like Meetup bring together folks of all interests. If you like the outdoors, there’s plenty of hiking groups. I found a great group of women with similar interests and it was one of the only reasons I stayed in Oklahoma as long as I did. It was this experience that prompted me to start Super Heroines, Etc.
Embrace the “Me” Time
Before you move, it’s a scramble to get everything ready – packing, finding an apartment, setting up utilities, and so much more that you don’t even think about until it’s suddenly important. Then the first few weeks afterwards are filled with unpacking, making sure you know how to find your new job, getting your library card… and let’s be honest this doesn’t ever really end, but it does slow down. When it gets slow, embrace the time you have to yourself because you definitely need to recharge. And it’s a good opportunity to explore your priorities before making commitments to that new hobby or group or social calendar.
Moving is a huge life change. I hope these tips will not only help you through the change, but to really thrive in your new town.
Do you have tips on how to survive a cross-country move? Share them in the comments!
About the author: Carolyn Noe is the Executive Director of Super Heroines, Etc. She just moved to Cincinnati with her fiancé, and her dog Darcy. They are currently binging House of Cards and prepping for their Parks & Rec themed wedding in May. Send her positive vibes on Twitter (@cnoeone) or Instagram (@longdistancedining) while she’s settling into her new life!
Author: Carolyn Noe
Carolyn is the Founder & Executive Director of Super Heroines, Etc. She is a recent transplant to Cincinnati and lives with her husband and her dog. She regularly nerds out about Parks & Rec, Firefly, and Pride & Prejudice.