The TRUTH About Moving Somewhere New All By Your Lonesome

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It's hard, it's lonely, and you'll probably eat a lot of pizza delivery.

It's hard, it's lonely, and you'll probably eat a lot of pizza delivery.

Moving is always a hassle. You have to clean, pack all your possessions in boxes, take a quarter of them to Goodwill, load everything in a U-Haul (including couches and major appliances), then drive a bumpy, awkward van with inadequate mirror coverage to wherever you're going. Which is a pain in the ass if it's just across town.

It's a pain in the ass and scary when you're moving somewhere farther away and all by yourself.


The movers meet you. They unload the U-Haul for you, a very different experience than your friends sweating and cursing over your sleeper sofa. They carry the boxes to where they're labeled. And then they leave. And you're on your own. You don't have anything else to do, so you unpack everything.

My husband moved to a new town all by himself. His brother helped him get settled, then got in the car and drove back up north. He didn't know anyone. He didn't know where anything was. He only knew his apartment and a flyer that told him they had taco delivery.

So he put in a movie, smoked some weed, and got tacos delivered. They were about as good as taco delivery can be expected to be. He fell asleep in his armchair. He spent weeks living like this, until he met some friends.


Like him, you'll spend the first few days navigating the city and learning where to get more than pizza delivery. You'll stock your fridge at the first grocery you find, which later will turn out to be the sh*tty, expensive grocery with panhandlers outside.

You'll need something electronic, and drive hither and yon to the Best Buy. You'll be appalled at how run-down the area is and panic about your decision to move. Have you made a colossal mistake? Your new friends will laugh at you, months later, for going to that mall. It's long gone ghetto.

You'll start to get lonely. Between the late-night movies, the errands, the meals alone, you'll start to wish for friends. You had a lot of friends where you came from, and you'll start texting them a lot. You might even make a phone call or two, but only to your besties.

You'll miss them terribly, even the party crasher who always showed up and killed the vodka. You'll go to the movies alone. You'll go shopping for your first-day-of-work outfit alone, with no one to tell you if you look good.


And when you start work, you'll meet people. These people will smile and tell you to call if you need anything, but you both know it's just lip service. They have families and parties and obligations, not time to lead a newbie around by the nose. But at least now you get to talk to people every day.

You have to get out there. You have to find a venue of some kind to make friends. You're going crazy here. Eventually, someone from work will invite you out for drinks. You'll be inordinately excited. You'll put on your lucky lipstick. And it'll go fine.

You'll talk about things. They'll laugh at you for going to that Best Buy. And casually, you'll ask if they want to get drinks again next week. Or head to the movies (platonic!). They'll invite you to a party they're having this weekend. And you'll say yes before you can even process the information.

You'll spend two hours getting dressed and another hour on your makeup. Maybe you'll meet some friends. The party will be fun, and you'll mingle, mingle, mingle. You'll find someone who shares your interests. You'll get their digits and promise to text them about hanging out. You get another set of digits, too. He's cute. He's available. And the quickest way to get some company is to have some sex.

So you start sleeping with the guy who delights in acting like a guide to the new city. You like him not as much as the ex you left behind, but he's funny and cute and has this way of tossing his bangs off his forehead that's mildly endearing, mildly annoying.

You'll text the other person from the party and ask if they want to hang out. She'll jump at the chance. The two of you will get coffee at Starbucks and find you have a lot in common, down to some weird childhood detail. You'll hang out regularly after that. She'll become a dear friend.


Slowly, you'll make friends. You'll figure out where the independent movie theaters are, the street festivals, the farmer's markets where you'll become a regular. Eventually, you'll fit in.

It will take a while. It won't be easy. But you'll stop thinking of yourself as a transplant and start calling your city home. Your friends will help. And you'll be glad you moved.



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