My friend, Rachel, sent an article to me today about moving to a new city. It is very fitting for our very recent move to Texas! Moving to a new city is on my list of hardest things to adjust to in life. The physical move is the easy part: the packing and unpacking. The hardest part sets in when the unpacking is done and you are suddenly faced with how to lean into life in a city full of people you do not know and in a city you do not know.
In terms of understanding this transition, I firmly believe the only way you can understand how challenging a move to a new city can be is to actual have experienced a move to a new city. This article from Relevant Magazine, titled, “How to Move to a New City” is authentic. It captures the reality of what it takes to get acclimated to a new city with these five suggestions:
- Give yourself permission to grieve
- Expect a Weird Neutral Zone
- Save up for the Essentials
- New Relationships Take Time
- God meets you in Transition
1) Give Yourself Permission to Grieve
When you move to start a cool new job, go to your dream grad school, or finally move into the same city your boyfriend or girlfriend lives in, you can’t help but celebrate.
The crazy part is that in the midst of celebration you can experience grief. But you’re not grieving because all this cool stuff is happening, you’re grieving because by hopping on a plane to take the risk of a lifetime you have to say goodbye to your old life.
In the midst of change—even good change—you need to give yourself permission to grieve. Allow yourself to mourn or cry. What you’re mourning is the people, places and things that you’ve lost and left behind. There will be deep stuff like missing your best friend and there will be stuff you didn’t think you’d ever miss like the local accent or your favorite Mexican food place. Grieving is acknowledging the pain of loss, calling it for what it is, eating the cake for dessert, then moving on and accepting that you’re life is different now.
Grieving is normal. It’s not weak, sinful, or weird. It’s human. It’s comforting. It’s part of Christ’s Kingdom here on earth. And it helps us to say goodbye to our old life and start our new one.In the midst of change—even good change—you need to give yourself permission to grieve.
2) Expect a Weird Neutral Zone
There’s a billion little things you have to do when you move to a new city. Commit to a church. Find a job. Set up the cable. Change your address. Choose a grocery store. Arrange your furniture. Get used to your new work schedule. Make friends. Turn on the electricity. Impress your landlord. Ask around about the best Thai food. Find a Target replacement (if you move to San Francisco). Start working out. Learn when the garbage gets picked up. Get to know your roommates. The list goes on and on and on.
Then, there’s the weird neutral zone in yourself. You don’t know who you are anymore or how you relate to God in this new weird place, you don’t know who you hang out with or where you like to eat, you don’t know where you go on walks or retreat to when you want to be alone. The neutral zone is like the desert of moving. And it doesn’t feel like home at all.
With all the uncertainty happening around you and inside you, the most healthy, real thing you can do is ask God to make His home in you. He understands deserts better than anyone else.
We continue to lean into life in our new city a day at a time!