I moved to SF in the heart of the cold rain, to a temporary apartment on the top of Nob Hill. I didn’t have a single friend in the city, and had nowhere to go during the day. I’m not sure the transition is hard for everyone. What I do know is it was hard for me, and I can only imagine how the hubs felt, jumping in to a new job everyday only to come home at night to a person adrift and lonely.
Things were tough, but I started to build the city around me. That sounds weird, but in a way a city is only there as you experience it. Firstly, I found a nearby grocery store. I let cooking slowly begin to fill up a part of me.
Next I found places I wanted to see, and I walked there and back.
Then of course came the busyness of finding an apartment. I walked everywhere I could, discovering neighborhoods I liked.
Once we found our place in Hayes Valley it was easier to settle in. Luckily, Yoga Tree was a block away from our new apartment, so I began a daily practice to give me somewhere to go each day. I found my favorite cafes, and bit by bit I developed friendships.
I have no idea what I would have done without the support of these amazing ladies, many of whom were brought to the city in a similar way.
I remember the deep relief I felt when a woman I was out for dinner with said “I’m always depressed the first 6 months in a new city”.
Looking back, things may have been harder because I expected the move to be the catalyst for a new and wondrously perfect life. Living in a city I loved, with the man I loved, leaving an ultimately unfulfilling job behind for a blank slate of possibility, what could be better?
I’ve definitely learned that happiness is something we build, not something we can grab onto, or leap into.
That being said I have learned that you can make it easier on yourself.
If I were to do it again, I would find a yoga studio before I move. For you it might be a gym, a park, a cafe, or a book store. Just somewhere you can go to feel quiet and comfortable and around people. I would sign up for a course or volunteer. I would have a stack of books I’m excited to read on those long days where I will inevitably be a little lonely.
Mostly I would be a little gentler with myself.