Anyone who grew up in a small suburban town knows there is a certain beauty in escaping your hometown and relocating to a more exciting place; that’s why so many people choose to go out of state for college. It’s easy to feel motivated and driven to succeed (or binge drink. Tomato/Bloody Mary) when you’re in a new place surrounded by new people. After college, it makes sense to move back home and save up money while searching for a job. Maybe you’ve even found a great job that allows you to live close to home. For some people, that’s ideal. For others, it’s boring. If you’re someone who feels in a rut and thinks moving to a new place might be the cure, you’re probably right. But there are a few things you need to realize first:
1. It’s EXPENSIVE
Between paying for a new apartment, the actual cost of moving (a moving van, paying friends to help you move, all that fun stuff) and actually furnishing your new place, you’re easily putting yourself back a few thousand dollars. The worst part about these necessary costs is they aren’t usually planned. You don’t realize how expensive it is to furnish a bedroom until you’re dropping a casual grand at Ikea (FUCK Ikea, by the way)…and then going home and crying about your inability to assemble a DRESSER. Aside from getting your home put together, you’re also probably going to spend your first few months taking in all your new city has to offer…ie, spending a lot of money at all those trendy bars and restaurants, and burning your paychecks in those precious boutiques you walk by all the time. It gets depressing being broke all the time for a few months, but it’s no reason to doubt your move. Eventually, the “new-ness” of your city will wear off, and you’ll find a way to save some money (hopefully).
2. It’s hard to meet new people
Coming home was easy, because you already had a set of friends waiting for you there. Once you move somewhere new, you’ll be so focused on getting into your new routine you might forget to build a social life for yourself outside of the few friends from college you see on occasion. It is difficult to muster the energy to go out after working long hours, not to mention it is almost nearly impossible to actually approach someone in a bar anymore, because apparently you need match on Tinder before you can meet a stranger. Everyone has a dream of moving to a new city and meeting the love of their life in some chance elevator encounter, but in reality, you’ll more than likely spend your nights sitting with the friends you had before you moved there bitching about why you haven’t met anyone yet.
3. You Will Get Lost.
Between navigating a public transit system and learning the (lack of) method behind street planning, finding your way around a new place is difficult. Sometimes it’s tempting to stay within your neighborhood and your commute to work for fear of getting lost, and it’s incredibly tempting to drive everywhere or take a cab instead of using public transit (like the Subway or the T) because of the simplicity GPS affords. When I lived in Orlando, I wound up getting so lost trying to find the DMV I actually pulled over and asked for directions…from a hooker. I was terrified, and then liberated all at once, because once you’ve gotten lost on Orange Blossom Trail and avoided getting robbed at gunpoint, you can pretty much conquer the world.
4. You Will Doubt Yourself
Some days will be harder than others. Once the new magic of your city wears off, there comes the harsh realization real life occurs wherever you choose it to. You might attribute a bad day at work or a blind date with no chemistry to your new city and get discouraged in your choice to uproot your life. Going back home seems tempting when you’re broke and walking home to your over-priced apartment on a rainy day. You might question whether your move had merit, or whether you made a life changing decision on a whim and will regret it. This is normal and happens to everyone, but it will definitely happen.
5. It Will Be Worth It
Yes, some days might be harder than others, and yes, you might be broke. The truth is, both good days and bad days will happen everywhere, and giving up on your dreams of living in a certain city shouldn’t happen because of a few bumps in the road. People often idealize a move, assuming all of their problems will be solved if they could just get out of their hometown, which is actually only half true. A new move can mark a new beginning, but the changes affected will actually come from you. If you have the drive and motivation to make a major change, you’re the one who created your successes, and your new location is only a small factor in it. Moving to a new city is one of the most simultaneously liberating and terrifying decisions you can make as a twenty something, but at the end of the day, it’s the one that will give you the most self satisfaction. Once you can take on a new city and all the challenges that come with it, you know you can actually take on the world (and make all of your hometown friends jealous of how fabulous you’re making your life look on Instagram #nofilterneeded).