In college I remember feeling a sense of envy for many of the people around me. Friends who had accepted scholarships to out of state universities, and friends who on a nomadic whim said they were packing up their car & skipping town. I didn't go to a college outside of my hometown, and I sure as heck wasn't about to just hop in my car to a destination unknown. (I am far too calculated to do that). However, I knew in my heart despite never traveling that I didn't want to live in Texas.
For years, I felt this but never pulled the trigger. In fact, I had a few opportunities to even move cities yet didn't take the leap. Even with a job offer back in Arizona once upon a time I couldn't do it. As college ended and I transitioned in and out of jobs that desire never left. In 2019 (Yep right before the pandemic) that all changed, and I quite literally did the least calculated thing ever and threw my whole world upside down to move to Tennessee. I knew one friend from a FB group that I had just met in person for the first time a few days prior, didn't know the city, landed a job that I had no clue on, and packed my car for the 12 hour road trip of a lifetime.
It has been two years since sending my mom a text message of the Tennessee state border, and to say it has been easy is a total lie. To be quite honest I have never struggled this much on feeling lonely, grasping what happiness is, and doing more inner soul searching work. I have had experiences I know I wouldn't have had back in Texas, made connections I never imagined, and have grown in more ways than I can count. However, I will also say that I have cried more than ever, and hit lows that are taking a toll. (Keep in mind I have had the world shut down basically the whole time being here, which can be a factor as well).
While I think it is great for someone to pack up and try a new state to live in, there are 3 hard lessons I have learned that I wish i had considered beforehand. You might see the glitz and glamour on IG from those who just go, but I want to share the truth. & I hope that you can make a more informed decision on uprooting your life because moving for the wrong reasons even with a wanderlust heart can leave you more empty.
3 things to consider when moving states.
Do you know the city? Visiting somewhere for a 3 day vacation vs. living there full time is NOT the same thing. Going somewhere during Summer isn't the same as living through a real Winter. I'll be honest Nashville has AMAZING views, but the tourism, Winter, & the amount of bachelor/bachelorette parties is not something I fully grasped I was signing up for. It has made dating a nightmare, meeting people very hit and miss, and my inner introvert kick into over time.
WHY are you moving? Is it the appeal of a new environment? The desire to test your comfort level and stretch to new limits? The love of your life lives there? Are you trying to escape reality, and hope that you will all of a sudden be happier? You need to have a clear vision on WHY you're leaving. This is where my biggest lesson has been learned. I left Texas as an escape. A relationship I thought was going to be "The one" had been over for a while, and job wise I knew teaching wasn't my true passion. I felt stuck, complacent, and projected my unhappiness onto the city I lived in. To me if I left it all behind in Texas to embark on this new venture I would feel happy. I would have a light shine again that had been dimmed for too long. That is NOT what happened- you can't escape reality. (That includes traveling as well). Whatever you're running from follows, and chances are will showcase itself 10x louder. I am experiencing this currently, I have never felt so empty or lonely inside. While I am not depressed, the sunshine and rainbows I thought would come has been more storms. I chose to move because I had hit a low in Texas, and was hoping this would fix that. It hasn't and it won't, when it comes to happiness only you can find where that is daily. BUT that also means you have to work through the deep sh*t that hurts.
Friends are hard to make. Can you handle being alone a bit? Can you handle friends back home wanting you to come back? Friends you thought were your ride or die now not saying a word to you? Friends saying how they wish they did this, or wish they said that all of a sudden pouring out their feelings just because you moved hundreds of miles away? I have had the privilege of making a few really great friends out here in Nashville, friends that I truly love/admire. However, I have also kept talking to maybe 2 people back home. Out of that it's a ghost town and those 2 people are the ones to mention coming to visit, and one was pregnant at the time.
As I hit my two years here, I can't tell you it is my forever home. I can't tell you that I haven't had thoughts of going back to Texas. What I can tell you is that if I had a redo- I would have really evaluated a few things. I would have asked why am I moving? I would have moved for reasons other than what led me to just pack my car and go. The escape I wanted and happiness I craved have not been the outcome, and I hope the lessons I learned save you some heartache if you're considering doing the same.
Lastly, moving states can be an amazing venture. Let me point out that had I not moved, I wouldn't be as strong as I am now. There are a lot of opportunities that have come, memories that have been made, and for that I am grateful. So if you're thinking about moving, I'd suggest spending a little time with yourself to make sure it's for the right reasons so you can really experience the change in a way that leaves you whole.