I missed New Jersey before I even left it. Like a breakup that you see coming and though you know it’s for the best you start to miss what you love before the moment it’s officially gone. I wasn’t breaking up with New Jersey per se, I was moving forward, opening a new chapter, stepping into the vast unknown. Okay, so it sounds like a break up, but truly Jersey, no hard feelings. You will always be my first love and a huge part of who I’ve come to be.
I traveled across the country for more than two months to get to my new city. And, as breakups tend to go, once I was in this new place, I missed the familiar.
A great friend told me, right before I left, the best advice she received in her cross-country move was in times of transition it is okay to grieve. Let yourself grieve. Man is that a liberating piece of advice.
I tell you now, I cried. I cried a lot. I allowed myself to feel – even when I would have rather shut my feelings off. I cried out of fear. I cried out of insecurity. I cried out of vulnerability. I cried out of nervousness. I grieved the life I left behind until I was all cried out.
Life starts when you allow it to.
Once this city became my new reality, I was fearful of what it would actually look like to create a life here. I questioned decisions made leading up to this point that I had felt so sure about before. Was I out of my mind? What made me fall for this place? Why did I pick up and move away from nearly everyone I love?
The truth is, those questions end up being the best reminders of why I embarked upon this journey to begin with. I was ready.
It’s quite a process. When I started preparing for my move cross-country, I found myself sorting through a great deal. The move surfaced everything from old photos and keepsakes to retired relationships and personal weaknesses that tested my character. Moving can do that; it shakes things up. I started to discover some things had remained in my life that I wasn’t aware were still there.
It’s funny; when we say a word a million times it tends to lose its individual value. “I’m moving” just sounds to me like a common phrase for an action I decided to take and I pay little mind to the root of the word, “move.” It’s called moving because we are physically transferring ourselves from one place to another, but think about that; to move is to take action, to start doing something, to make progression, to change, to improve, to open our view.
Moving, in its inherent definition, is meant to shake things up for us, and in us, to help us forward.
In the last month before my big move out west, the realness of it all slowly set in more with each day. It was a gradual roll over the past year, but that concluding month was my final dose of reality. I had been working through things in my life, many times with blurred, puffed eyes and a sore, but healing heart. I felt as though I was participating in a final exam of sorts for that season in my life. No grade would be given for its completion; just amplified gratitude and strengthened endurance if I made it through.
It’s not easy relearning lessons that you hoped you’d only have to absorb once or ones you thought you had skated by in the past. Maybe that’s the point though. Maybe it’s not about “getting by” or “pushing through.” Maybe it’s all about enduring until it no longer becomes a lesson for you, but rather an experience to be shared and, perhaps, a possible lesson to help someone else later in life.
I nodded my head visualizing her analogy.
“They spend years working on buildings. All you see, for the bulk of those years, are orange cones everywhere and all you hear are loud drilling and bulldozing noises. Then one day, seemingly all of a sudden, the building is up and it’s beautiful and sturdy and stunning.
I continued to nod, in awe of this incredible compare-and-contrast example she was playing out in front of me. It was spot on.
She paused, “You’re feeling it and while you may not see what it will ultimately look like just yet, it’s on its way.”
I was ready.