It’s finally starting to feel like spring, and with the changing of seasons come many other important changes as well. For my parents, it’s the fact that my little sister will be graduating high school in a few months, and they will fall into the category of empty-nesters. For me, it means finding a big-girl job and getting an apartment in a new city. For others, it could be downsizing and looking for smaller homes now that their older children have started lives and families of their own.
No matter what age you are, moving to a new place can feel incredibly overwhelming. You may be excited for the new people and opportunities that will greet you, or you may feel lonely and long for the comfort and familiarity of your old town. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you belong, there are plenty of ways to fall in love with your new place and make it just as much of a home as the last one.
Figuring Out the Lay of the Land: The Town
Hanging out and having lazy days at home is great, but one of the great things about living in a new town is the opportunity to get out and explore! Challenge yourself to try a new restaurant or coffee shop every week, or look for new walking trails or outdoor spaces to check out. Don’t know where to start? Ask friends or neighbors what their go-to spots are! Or, try the popular review site Yelp, which can give you a list of top-rated local attractions and where to find them. Whether you’re looking for a good brunch spot or the next great museum to see, this app has got you covered. Get out and get exploring!
Figuring Out Where You Fit: Sense of Community
One of the best things about the places we call home is the people we share it with. When searching for your next place, make sure you are surrounded by people who you can see yourself becoming friends with. If you’re already settled in, investigate the types of opportunities available to meet other members in your community. Whether it’s joining a local gym or finding a book club to become a part of, there are tons of ways to make yourself feel more at home in your new town.
Figuring Out How to Stay Connected: Proximity to Family
When I was first considering where I wanted to move after I graduated, part of me wanted to go as far away as possible and land my first job in a city I had never been to and knew nothing about – I suppose that was the wanderlust bug in me. However, as the year progressed, I increasingly found myself torn: I craved the adventure and excitement of planting my roots somewhere new, and yet I longed for the safety and familiarity of the city I grew up in.
For me, choosing a city only and hour or two away from my parents means that I have the safety option of going home for a weekend to de-stress and connect with family. For my mom, it means that she can take the afternoon to come see me for lunch and the always-important TJ Maxx shopping trip.
If you’re feeling anxious about the thought of moving and still choosing between places to live, consider the ease of which you will be able to visit your family. Even if you don’t need to see them all the time, knowing that they are not that far away can still offer a sense of relief.
Figuring Out What Else There is to Do: Possibility for Adventure
If you’ve moved to a small town, especially if you’re used to a big city, investigate what other places and cities are nearby. While you may think you have all you’ll need in a small community, it doesn’t hurt to have the option of a larger, bustling city not too far away if you ever want a change of pace. Besides, you’re never too old for a good ole-fashioned road trip!
What is “home,” anyway?
“Home” is a term that varies in definition depending on who you ask. As a recent college graduate and Wolf Pup, my version of ‘home’ has changed each year with each new dorm and apartment I’ve lived in. Home is also my house I grew up in back in Baltimore – the one I look forward to returning to every break. For others, “home” may be where they raised their children who have now found places of their own. Some may not have a place that they can yet consider their home; maybe it is still too unfamiliar of a place to merit such a label, or they don’t have the means of which to acquire somewhere permanent to plant their roots.
However, one thing that I think remains universally confirmed is that the term “home” is so much more than a physical place. Home is a feeling. It is the sense of community and belonging you feel when you know your neighbors, and can wave at Mr. DeMallie as he pulls in the driveway after work. It is the comfort of your favorite local restaurant or coffee shop. It is your favorite furniture that is worn and weathered, because it has been with you through thick and thin.
Embrace the change for the opportunity that it is and recognize a pleasant challenge in the unexpected. What does home mean to you? Share your story with us and tell us your thoughts.
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