Moving is hard. Yep. I said it.
Moving to a new city and state as an adult pretty much sucks. The only way I know it will get better is because I’ve done it before.
When I graduated college, I moved from Southern Indiana to Portland, Oregon with Erin, a friend from school. I had just turned 22 and it was a huge period of transition for both of us. We didn’t know what we wanted to be when we grew up. We felt lost without our circles of friends from school, but at least we had each other. Well, at least for the eight months before Erin left me and moved back home to Illinois.
After Erin left I was forced to leave my comfort zone, find new roommates and make new friends. When I made the cross-country move to Boston for grad school four years later, I had created community in Portland.
The first few months in Boston were tough. I missed the life I had in Portland and although I knew I needed a change and I was excited to go back to school, I was starting over again. Fortunately, being a student automatically put me in situations to make new friends. I met Tim, my now husband after living in Boston only three weeks.
Three years later, after finishing grad school, Tim and I moved to Philadelphia. We wanted a fresh start and had heard good things about Philly. The cost of living was better than New York City, and it had an emerging arts scene that made it extra appealing. Moving to Philly we were forced to start over again. I don’t think I loved Philly at first. Finding a job, meeting new people, and navigating a new city is stressful. I had Tim, but the transition was tough. It took a while before we felt at home, but fast-forward eight and a half years and I had a fulfilling life. We were married, we adopted a dog, we had a three-year-old and a new baby. I had a job that I liked (and had worked at for over seven years). I volunteered in my community, had close friendships, and a city I knew well.
We’ve been in Tallahassee now for almost six months (what!?! how did that happen!?), and I’m still mourning my Philadelphia life. I miss my girlfriends tremendously and am moved to tears every few days whether by things I see on Facebook or an email I receive from a friend. Sure, on a moment-to-moment basis I’m doing fine. I’m settling into my new job, meeting new people, and finding activities to do with my family. We have the loving support of my in-laws and that’s been great, but I still feel homesick. Philly feels like home to me, and I don’t know when I’m going to get to visit again.
I think it would be easier for me if I had a Philly trip planned. If I knew I would be going to Philly over Christmas or even next year, I think it would be a easier for me. I could say, well, I’ll see you in May. But now, we have no plans to return to Philadelphia. It’s expensive and our Christmas holiday will be spent on pricey flights to Central Illinois to see my side of the family. Then, in April we’ll be flying to LA for my sister’s wedding (again, an exciting trip–yay, Gina!–but it’s not Philadelphia). Tim’s whole family is going to Key West next August and there’s just not enough time (or money) to do all the things I want to do.
Sometimes I daydream of just taking a long weekend trip to Philly for a girls weekend. I’m sure I could make it work financially if it was just me, but part of the reason I would want to go to Philly would be for my friends to see June and how much she’s grown. Plus, I would want to take Adelaide and have her get together with all her little friends.
It just breaks my heart to think that Adelaide won’t see her friends again or that by the time we do get back to Philly they won’t remember each other. I don’t know why that’s so hard for me. One bonus of moving Adelaide when she was only three-and-a-half years old was that she would be easily adaptable. Still, I hadn’t considered that she may one day completely forget her time in Philly–a time that was so important to me as a new mom and young family will likely just be the shadow of dream for her one day.
Tears stream my cheeks as I write this. I wrote it in two separate sittings and still, both days, tears.
My brain knows that I’m doing the right things–putting myself “out there” to meet new people, explore my new city and make new friends. I feel blessed to have made such good friends in all the places I’ve lived. (Otherwise, leaving wouldn’t have been so difficult.) I remember when I first met Tim and he said I talked about Portland all the time. I’m sure I did. Portland, Portland, Portland. Now I feel I do that with Philly–especially at work. I catch myself doing it. In Philly this and in Philly that.
Somedays when a Philly friend sends an email or comments on Facebook and says that it looks like I’m doing well or adjusting well, I cringe a little. Yes, sure. I guess I am. Right? But hell if it isn’t hard, and boy do I miss Philly.