Have you ever moved from the place that feels most like home?
The smell of packing tape has become familiar aroma in my memory. Like a whip, it snaps me back into moments in time where I have picked up and relocated. Can you smell it? It is all too familiar.
When you leave one place for another, you leave something of you behind. Your routines, your knowledge of the roads, your community, certain shops and your grocery store, that place with your favorite sweet treat, or your favorite running trail or picnic spot. It's all there, all of these places and things that work to fill you up as you live years in one town. That's what you leave behind when you move, only to arrive curious and excited, but empty in a new place.
Emptiness is not always a bad thing.
The kind of emptiness that occurs when you move to a new town can funnel you into two directions. One is for the adventurer and curious person inside you. Newness is refreshing and exciting. I have often felt a small fraction of what Lewis & Clark might have felt as they saw things for the first time. The other has often been the case for me. Overwhelm. So much newness stifles, and sends you straight back under the covers. Under those covers, you give into the emptiness and miss what you left behind.
Maybe it sounds dramatic. Maybe if you have moved recently, you understand. Even now, in October, I am still processing my second cross-country move. But, there are a few beautiful things I have learned.
1. Embrace the tension.
Perhaps a combination of newness and sadness is the key to getting by in a new terrain. It is healthy to let yourself grieve - to a point. If you continually look over your shoulder, you might miss something ahead. Instead, a balancing act is in order. Go on the hunt for your favorite new spots, and share memories of the old.
2. Expectations are killer.
This is true in so many areas of life, right? Every time I have knowingly or unknowingly had an expectation of someone or something, I have been disappointed. You might be thinking that I must set extremely high expectations, and that is not always true.
Think about it. In this time of transition to a new place, experiencing disappointment over and over again can crush you. And you are doing it to yourself by have expectations where there is no previous knowledge. Let's say, for example, that I expected Louisiana to have lots of running trails just like Washington. I mean, everywhere does, right? I love to trail run, and even where I went to college in Georgia had some great trail running, so it's not exactly an unrealistic expectation. When I got here, I found one park that has a 1.5 mile loop. Disappointed. There are many other examples. I need to take my own advice. Expectations that result in disappointments add up and will make your transition much much more difficult than it needs to be.
3. Patience is key.
In a new place, this is my daily reminder. It takes time to meet people, it takes time to try new places and learn the roads. I was shopping for groceries at Target 15 mins. away before I discovered an amazing local grocery much closer to my house. (It was not on google maps, unless you zoom way in. I couldn't believe I missed it!). It takes time to weed through expectations and learn balance. It takes time to have somewhere new and different feel like home.
Give yourself a little grace, embrace the tension, and learn to love your new home.