I graduated high school almost ten years ago. If you need a reference point, I walked across the stage to accept my diploma minutes after hearing the news of Michael Jackson’s death, and six months after Obama was sworn into the White House. I feel like my adulthood started on that day.
Since graduating, I moved from my charming hometown of Farmington CT, to New York City to Storrs CT , To Farmington (again), To New York City (again), To Boston, and now, quite surprisingly to me, I’m moving to Denver to start a life with my boyfriend Ryan (yay)! Essentially, I have had five “fresh starts” in nine years. Remember the last time you felt like a newbie at anything? Perhaps it was your freshman year of college or when you started your first job? Give yourself that feeling for nearly a decade, and you have my young adult life in a nutshell.
My grandma calls me the “Jumping Jack” of the family. After leaving NYC for the second time, I truly thought Boston would be the place I could really sink my teeth into. Alas, I’m still schlepping from city to city, apartment to apartment (at least I’m not alone, now)! Pssst: I'm 3 days into Denver and it's really blowing me away. I didn't know what to expect!
So here I am, another fresh start. I’m going through cities like they’re Tinder dates. Swipe, swipe, swipe.
Here’s what I’ve learned about moving a lot and about fresh starts:
1. Perspective is Everything- One of the most attractive parts about moving a lot, is that there’s always wonder and excitement if you choose to find it. New friends, new places, new routines, new goals, etc. You’re suddenly filled with the hope and possibility of a fresh start. As a perpetual optimist, I’ve been able to find the good in every move which really helps with transitioning.
2. There are always incredible people to meet - I am completely in awe of the immediate, lasting connections I’ve made in each mini chapter of my life. In Boston I was more introverted than usual and didn’t really try to make new friends, but I had some inspiring, incredible relationships pop out of nowhere. The more I move, the more I notice how these friendships are truly a sign of grace. Despite the craziness of starting a new job and adjusting to a new environment, the best friendships appear with deep connection, undeniable chemistry and require minimal effort to maintain.
3. Moving a lot can slow you down- One of the downsides to moving often is that perpetual transitions have slowed me down professionally. As they say, there’s always a “learning curve” to each new job and city. Experiencing that repetitively requires energy and time. The positive to that is, I’m always learning! The downside is, I’ve been professionally at “entry level” for a bit too long. I’m thirsty to achieve “veteran” status at something. An important factor to feeling that way is dedicating time to something.
4. The Big Picture is Important- What gives me confidence to keep moving is that my goals and dreams are connected to me no matter where I live or what job I have. I can coach, write and host events from anywhere. When Ryan had the idea to move to Denver, I essentially said, “Well, OK. My dreams are portable! Let’s do it!” Your dreams, your art, your relationships (thanks to technology) are not all tied to a single place. If you find yourself constantly moving and switching jobs, finding something constant in your life is crucial for stability. Although it’s difficult to do this, keeping spirituality and the big picture in the forefront of your mind will become great source of stability and trust in the unknown. When things feel out of control, everything that is reliable and certain, will keep you anchored to yourself.
5. You can always leave- Here’s how this has worked in my life: New York City has chewed me up and spit me out twice! Each time I go there, I have a big dream to chase. After a fleeting love affair with the city, both time’s I’ve left like a puppy with my tail between my legs. It’s like the city slaps a participation ribbon on my chest, taps me on the forehead and says “there, there, back to Connecticut ya go!” It’s like I’m failing basketball try outs all over again. The thing is, I’m always quick to go. The city gets unsustainable somehow, and I peace (the efffff) out. It used to make me feel like a quitter until I realized that coaching isn’t going anywhere (refer to #4). The thing is, you can always leave somewhere if the dream doesn’t work out, or you change your mind. You can go home. You can realize that you made a mistake and revert to plan B. Although a big move seems permanent, it’s not. The only thing permanent is impermanence.