One year ago this month, I packed up my things and headed north to Atlanta for what would be one of the sweetest (uh, maybe I should say “peachiest”) chapters of my life so far. I hesitated to write this post for a while now, because it’s such a daunting topic for me. I’m not even sure how to begin to explain the ways moving has changed me and what it’s taught me. Honestly, I would encourage almost every young couple or young twenty-something person to try moving to a new place. Yeah, you do that in college, but moving as an adult who is solely responsible for themselves and maybe even their spouse is a huge bonding experience. In fact, I’m convinced that Matt and I have a better relationship because we were both moved away from everything that was familiar to us for over twenty years and had to figure things out on our own. Moving to a new state changes your daily life in one fell swoop and leaves you trying to decide how to get your feet back on solid ground. It leaves you having to decide what’s important, what relationships you’ll pursue, how you’ll portray yourself and where you’ll find your source of joy. And that is often where the real learning begins…
For me, the hardest part about moving to Atlanta has been the loss of familiarity and being further from my immediate family. I’m one of those people who has to take their time getting adjusted to a new place. I miss my family, I have cried so many times when I leave them after a visit and I may have cried a time or two when lost on a road that is ALSO named Peach-something (seriously, these roads!). And it’s okay to have all of those feelings. Thankfully, we’ve got lots of great technology, Facetime dates with family, frequent trips and a GPS to help ease the pain.
My counselor and a few friends have told me that it’s really important to let yourself be sad. In every life change, people have to mourn the old life before they can really appreciate the new one. Different people do this in different ways. Some act like they aren’t phased at all, some hide it well and some have full on breakdowns…often. It really just depends. But, let yourself be sad and work through the emotions. Be honest with yourself, cry if you need to, talk it out, write about it. Whatever works. You don’t have to be superman about this whole moving thing. Also, it helped when I was told it actually takes about 2 years to feel fully settled in a new location. So, give yourself a break.
I grew up in a semi-small town in Florida that has a really, really, realllllyyyyy small town feel because I spent my whole life there and graduated high school with some of the same kids who sat beside me in circle time at St. Paul’s Preschool. Yeah, that kind of town. Don’t get me wrong, a small town is not a bad thing. In fact, I’ve found a new appreciation for the town I grew up in, because I really think coming from a place like that made me who I am and helped make me confident enough to follow my heart. Leaving the small town where I spent my whole life, a place where I learned to love people and formed my foundation for life, was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It was weird though, because I knew I had to do it. I knew I had to do it for myself. I wanted to move to be closer to Matt (who had gotten a job in Atlanta the year before), find more opportunities and maybe learn some things that I couldn’t learn in the familiarity of home.
Yeah, I was terrified. Change is a lot of things, and terrifying is definitely one of them. As scary as change may seem, it seems I always learn the most when I’m challenged and being forced to grow because of something bigger. Yeah, there were so many unknown factors. But, I’m starting to realize that at one point or another, everything we know now was unknown to us before. We just have to trust in God’s plan…which of course is easier said than done. I’m really grateful for Matt and my aunt who helped me through the tougher transition parts of this last year. I’m also super thankful for my family and friends back home and new loved ones here in Atlanta who will probably never know how much I love and appreciate every ounce of support they’ve so freely given. I’m also grateful for all of the doors God has opened, the marriage that got started, (two) new homes, our church, new jobs, countless roads that are not on a grid system (and always named Peach-something), new friends and lessons I’ve learned.
All I can say is that you just never know where God’s going to take you next and you just have to be open to it, even if it scares you. Knowing you’re exactly where He wants you to be is a really beautiful thing. He’ll get you there and he’ll give you everything you need to handle it.