Today, I dropped off two of my best friends from Perth back to the airport so that they could fly home and, all of a sudden, I was hit with the New City Blues. Hard.
I got back to my house, closed the door to my bedroom and flopped on my bed, wondering how on earth I was actually going to make it here in Melbourne. Whenever I have a quiet moment to think, Perth pops into my head. I mean, I seriously feel like re-uprooting myself and flying back home. In fact, the only thing that’s keeping me from doing that right now is the disappointment I would inevitably feel for not really giving Melbourne a go.
So how do I give this place a real chance then? Well, I’ve been doing my research about that very topic this evening while listening to sad Death Cab for Cutie songs and this is a list I have come up with.
1. Take a moment every day to just revel in how courageous you are for making the move.
Seriously, pat yourself on the back. You could have stayed, even though you knew you had outgrown your home city. You could have ignored that feeling in your gut that was telling you how stifled you were feeling; how you felt like you needed to leave so you could continue on with your personal growth. No one would have blamed you if you did stay.
But you did it! You moved! You moved away from the arms of amazing friends and a comfortable life in the hopes of bettering your life. Remember this! What a brave move!
2. Do not lose touch with the people from home.
These people helped shape you into the person you are today. They had a hand in your bravery! Always be thankful for them and make sure you send them a quick text or phone call once a week to let them know you’re thinking about them.
Also, remember that you are not the only person who is struggling. They have just lost a great friend! Make sure they know you love them, miss them, and are so thankful for their support.
3. Give yourself permission to break down into a big fat snot-faced mess of tears.
If you need to spend a day in bed crying about how you miss the sight of the pelicans that perch on the streetlights on Canning Bridge, do it. Text your friends and tell them you’re sad. Skype with your family. Look at pictures of life back at home. Let yourself really grieve for the life you left behind.
And then get up and get on with it.
4. Learn to love your own company.
Of course it’s imperative for you to meet people. You need to create connections, but you also need to enjoy solo time. Why would someone want to befriend you if you can’t stand your own company? Spend time alone at a cafe or gallery. Learn this city alone. Create experiences of your new city all by yourself. They will be only yours, and there’s something really precious about that.
5. Find local anchoring points and branch out.
I’ve discovered a few restaurants and cafes that I already love to frequent and use these spots as pin points on a map I have in my brain. Then I’ll ask the staff for recommendations of other nearby places to check out. Always try places the locals tell you about – sometimes that dive bar around the corner is better than the five star tourist attraction on Urbanspoon.
This works with your group of friends too. Ask friends from back home to introduce you to anyone they may know in the same city as you and go and meet up with them. Your connections don’t have to always be deep and meaningful ones. You may only meet them once a month for a quick coffee. But what if that friend brought another friend to the coffee date or invited you to a dinner they were having at their place? Branching out in this way may lead you to your new bestie!
6. Lower your expectations when it comes to new friends/acquaintances.
Continuing on from my last point… be realistic about the fact that it could take you a really long time to make that new best friend. My friend Div, who moved from Perth to Adelaide to Sydney said it best. “It will take you two years to build solid friendships. Until then, you will meet nice enough people who will do. Be patient because it will take a while, but it will be worth it.”
I think it’s important to also lower your expectations and to accept friendships from people you’re not fully interested in being super close with. There is nothing wrong with having some friends that you see only once a month. If you have a few of those people in your life, you could plan to meet Person 1 in week 1, Person 2 in week 2, etc. That’s one day a week down! All you have to do is fill up the other 6 days!
7. Accept as many invitations as possible.
I am very good at Number 4. I love solo adventures, but I am also prone to those bouts of sadness at 10pm on a Saturday night when everyone is out at a party to which I was also invited but was too lazy to attend, and now regret not going because I’m lonely and want to be around people but it’s a little bit too late to get ready and go at the last minute (this girl needs a lot of time to get ready, ok?).
Seriously, just go out. Click on the “going” button on Facebook event invites and actually go. All you have to lose is time alone and sleep. You can always catch up on both the next day. All you have to gain is an amazing night out and perhaps an amazing new connection.
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Righto. Those are the ones that I have experienced so far. Have you guys moved? If so, what are some of your tips for not going mental in a new city?