It’s been a little over a year since my husband and I relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area from Reno, Nevada. We originally moved for my husband’s job but it was mostly my idea (meaning I begged to move). I needed a break from the place we had always known. I didn’t want to be 45 and look back and wondered “what if”. That’s so my personality FOMO is FOReal with this one.
What I didn’t realize was that moving as an adult is no joke. In all actuality, it’s really shitty. Why was making friends so much easier as a child?! Why is the first question out of everyone’s mouth: “So what do you do?” like that’s a prequalification for a relationship. I mean, yeah, I’m not thrilled to hang out with a Circus Clown but, like, as long as they never wear it around me and make enough to grab a glass of wine at Happy Hour, I’m pretty cool. BUT, with that said and although it’s been incredibly difficult, I’ve learned so much about myself and my relationships.
1. You Can’t Be Everything To Everyone
Relationships are hard. We all know this. THEY’RE REALLY HARD. And I’m not just talking about romantic relationships. I mean family and friends, too. If I thought relationships were hard when I lived close to everyone I loved, I had a rude awakening when I wasn’t down the street from them.
My priorities changed so much (trying to survive Bart is WAY UP THERE) so my habits changed and that includes my communication habits. Moving really showed me how you can have so many different types of friendships and not every friendship can survive huge lapses in communication and that frickin’ sucks. On the flip side, I was surprised by some friendships that I for sure thought would disappear but they’re now stronger than ever! Silver Linings, folks. Silver Linings reap the reward of sanity, I swear.
2. We Are All A Lot Similar Than We Think
Coming from Reno, Nevada (and a small cow town before that), the Bay Area was a complete and total culture shock. Like, anxiety causing differences that I just wasn’t expecting. It’s so crazy how you just don’t notice things when you’re a tourist visiting. I was focused on my next purchase and my next glass of champagne and now I’m passing my dozens of homeless men, women and children. I’m passing by multi-millionaires heading to work twenty feet later and then they are being followed by a family on an International vacation.
I didn’t feel connected to any of these people. I grew up in a very Conservative home and some of my family was just APPALLED I would be moving to such a liberal area. Once I got situated, I realized these people were not that much different at all. My coworkers, those next to me on the train, new friends, clients, the bartender serving us drinks, the woman begging with her child in Union Square, we all want the same things. We want camaraderie, friendship, safety, shelter, respect, and to be treated with kindness regardless of our upbringing, our jobs, our age, our gender, whatever made us different on the outside. Whatever characteristics we have that are different, we have basic desires that make us similar regardless of geographical location.
Caveat: MOST people are like this. MOST people I can find a similar ground with. The ones that I can’t fina common ground with are usually just assholes so whatever. I’m fantastic. Your loss, Karen.
3. It’s Okay To Pour Yourself Out But Are You Filling Yourself Up?
This sort of goes back to #1. Working in the non-profit world, being a wife, a dog-mom (vital), friend, daughter, sister, colleague and manager can just be exhausting. I’m a total empath (I’ve cried at more movies than I am proud to admit) and so I go completely out of my way to make sure everyone is GOOD. You good? You need anything? You want (insert any earthly possession here)? I was spending so much time making sure I was killing it at my new job, making sure my co-workers and employees like me, making sur my husband was as stress free as possible with things I could control, making sure my friends didn’t think I had just forgotten them, that I forgot to fill myself at. I forgot to check my gas light before it was too late, until I screamed (literally) why no one was asking what I needed, what I wanted, if I would like to go/do/eat/buy something. Well, they had but I was so empty at that point that I didn’t even register that something like that could happen which brings me to…
4. Self Care Isn’t Just A Hashtag
And I had always used it as such. “Omg! Bath bomb and champaaaaagne!” #selfcaresundaaaay!!
Granted, I still do that from time to time because it does make me happy but I realized over this past year that taking care of myself was so much more than that. It was taking the time to pack a lunch instead of eating out every day (which would eventually lead to French Fries), it was forcing myself to take the time to meditate in the morning even though it’s the laaaast thing I want to do because I glorify being busy (something I am really working on).
Some days it was as simple as forcing myself to go to bed instead of staying up trying to finish that last email to my boss, or the last blog post, or the last edit of my picture. It’s about doing little things every hour, day and week that adds up to a better me. More patient and hardworking, less irritable and stressed. All the things I need to be to strengthen my relationships and path to success.
5. It’s Time to Stop Pretending I Don’t Know What I Want
This one is really, really recent. I was always scared that once I admitted what I wanted, I would have to go after it and that’s scary as shit. THEN, once I admitted it to myself and decided to go after it, I would have to tell others and then they would keep me accountable. Or, even worse, they will scoff, or call me crazy or silly or whatever words people use these days. It’s time to stop selling myself short and admit I know what I want to do and just go for it. We don’t have to live life the way we were always taught to. We don’t have to live our parents life. We can do our own thang and we should. Time to get out and make it work.
Have you ever made a big move? What did you learn from it? Am I crazy or did you feel the same thing?!