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Advice to myself after 10+ years of moving

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Well time is going quickly. It was wait, wait, wait, but now it’s RUN!

Although I knew this was a possibility, I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I have about a month-and-a-half left in Columbus.

Moving and finding a place in Galveston is consuming me. I’m spending hours researching housing options, just to find the same 4-5 properties. Yikes. It’s understandable though, because poor Galveston has suffered some pretty bad losses with hurricanes, mostly recently it was Ike, and it just hasn’t totally recovered yet.

Hurricanes be damned, I’m moving there!

In all honestly, it’s going to be a big change. In many ways.

First, just the fact that Rob will be in residency. I have no idea what this really means, other than people telling me, “You’ll never see him.”

Fabulous. Sounds awesome!

Am I ready for more of this? This meaning – med school life, but possibly worse?

No, I’ll never be quite ready. I’ll just prepare the best I can.

Second, Galveston is a smaller city than I’ve lived in for a very long time. Yes, I could go up to League City and live the ‘burb life, but I feel pretty strongly that I want to give the island life a go.

I have idealistic dreams of stopping by the hospital with Pookie to visit Rob on his lunch breaks. And dreams that if Rob doesn’t have to commute to and from work, that means about 1.5 hours more spent with us (he’ll probably end up using that time to sleep, but a girl can dream…).

Third, it’s going to be hot. I do like me some heat and humidity, but this is going to take some adjusting. Especially because I somehow got the “modest gene” and don’t like showing anything above my knees.

As I process how this is all going to go down, I’m taking a step back periodically to remind myself that I’ve done this many times before and it all works out fine.

So, self, remember these:

ADVICE FOR MOVING #1

Here’s how it usually goes down for me when I arrive in a new city:

First couple of weeks: “This is fun! It’s so different! I don’t know where anything is and have no friends – or a job – but I’ll figure it out. I’m resilient!”

About a month in: First break down after getting lost (again) trying to find a grocery store. “This is so hard!!! I hate this so much. I have no friends. No one knows I even exist here. I just want some freakin’ unsweetened almond milk and some Kind Bars – why is this so f***king hard?!?!?!.”

A few weeks later: Usually I’ve met one or two ladies that I jive with. I’m getting the hang of things and starting to learn about all the locals-only stuff. Things are getting much better.

About six months in: Total breakdown. “This is my life? No seriously, that was fun and all at first, but I don’t know if I can do this. I miss my old friends. I miss my old job. Things just aren’t the same. I just want to get take-out from my favorite place that is 1000+ miles away. This is horrible!!!!.” Usually followed by a large decline in health, then when things feel pretty low, a third wind arrives.

A few weeks later – until I move again: “THIS IS THE BEST PLACE I’VE EVER LIVED!! I love it so much. That restaurant on 3rd? Divine. That yoga class? Awesome sauce. I have friends. I have a groove. Things are peachy.”

That’s the usual roller coaster for me. Up, down, up, dowwwwwwn, UP! Reminder this is normal and it will be much easier to weather.

ADVICE ON MOVING #2

The sooner you put yourself out there, the better. A major key to your happiness will be finding a friend or two, and feeling like part of some community.

You can’t make friends watching movies at home by yourself on the couch. You hear me?? LEAVE THE HOUSE AND GO TALK TO SOMEBODY. Yes, YOU, introvert. You.

ADVICE ON MOVING #3

Your two best friends, are not actually your best friends. They are the key to infinite sadness. Who are these two “friends”?

Sugar and alcohol.

Sorrows seem easily drown by this pairing – especially in a wave of indulgence (like eating a whole tube of cookie dough; it’s been years for me, I’ve gotten better). Nothing seems to calm a frazzled mind than a glass – or several – of wine, and a brownie – or five.

In the past, I would easily turn to these “friends” to help me cope. I joke that when we lived in Hawaii, I survived off of Crown and Dr. Pepper, and microwaveable brownie cakes.

I’m not joking.

It was almost EVERY NIGHT whenever Rob was deployed.

No wonder I didn’t sleep well, felt sick all the time, felt more sad, and felt like my body was falling apart. No good, friends, no good.

But that’s what we do in our culture, yes? Stressed? Have some drinks and dessert! It’s not a bad thing, but when it becomes your total coping system, it’s disastrous.

So, self, what are you going to do then?

I’m going to find one or two other options, and try those FIRST. It could be five jumping jacks, smelling lavender essential oil, doing five minutes of stretching, breathing deeply three times, setting a timer to wait 10 minutes before I eat or drink and see if I still want it when the timer goes off.

The hardest part is that movement is the best cure, but it’s the thing I’ll be least likely to want to do. Peel myself off this couch or out of bed? Nah, I’ll stay here thanks.

Timers. That’s how I’ve found to get myself to move. I’ll tell myself, “You have five more minutes to sit here and when the timer goes off, you have to get up and walk/stretch/tidy/etc.”

Things will be a little different this time around because it’s the first time I’ll be moving to a new place with a kiddo. Being there for Pookie is a top priority, so that will help with bucking up and getting out there. It’s the times when she’s sleeping that I’m just with myself – and the coping choices I make.

ADVICE ON MOVING #4

If you look for the good, you’ll find it. If you look for the bad, you’ll find it.

When we lived in Charleston, SC, I saw ALL the bad, which made it miserable. I also had jobs I didn’t like and lived in an area we didn’t like. All of these things could have been addressed and changed, but I couldn’t see past how horrible it was. I wanted out.

That was a HUGE life lesson. We asked to be re-assigned to upstate New York and we did. We liked our place better, but I couldn’t find a job and I felt very alone. I didn’t know anyone.

However, I realized that if I kept focusing on all the things that aren’t going well, or I didn’t like, I’d just keep myself in this negative pattern – over and over again.

I started to look for the good and it made all the difference. I found it and more.

So, don’t ignore what you don’t like, but don’t give it unneccessary focus. Find the good whenever you can.

*****

So there you have it, my main pieces of advice to myself that I will be continuously referring back to this next year. Best of luck to those with big transitions coming up too!

Adventures, here we come!!

 

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Kristin P March 29, 2016, 11:27 am

    Even though I’m not moving, I feel like I’ll have to force myself to “put myself out there” as well because all my friends will be moving away!
    Also, you hit the nail on the head with #3. Again, even though I’m staying put in Columbus, man, it’s SO SO hard not to turn to sweets/over eating as a coping method when I’m not feeling great. Please keep updating when you find what alternate coping methods work for you, because I’m definitely interested in learning more/trying them out.
    Good luck with your upcoming move! Can’t believe graduation is only a month away 🙂

    • Amy Rakowczyk March 30, 2016, 12:48 pm

      Kristin – I know, putting yourself out there is so hard!! Can’t we go back to kindergarten where we become friends because we both liked pink? Seemed so much easier then. 🙂

      I’ll definitely let you know how my “positive choices” coping methods come together and find success or not. It’s so hard when you’re in the thick of it. I’m going to establish some rules so I have a sort of game plan when those moments arrive, and then I’ll see how it goes. We can do this!!

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