I had this post scheduled on my calendar. The whole, "moving across the country" had a pretty huge effect on me and I wanted to share my story and how I coped with all the changes. It was funny because when I was reviewing my editorial calendar I looked at today's post and thought, "huh, that's going to be interesting." I guess, because I'm still coping and the coping process for me was tough, really tough.
Here is the story. Husband was already living in California. Husband and I got married, May 26, 2012. We honeymooned for a week and then returned to Joplin. We spent two days packing our uhaul and saying our goodbyes and we were on the road by Sunday, June 3. I think I started crying in Oklahoma. All within little over a week my entire life changed. I hadn't even seen our apartment. I was going in site unseen.
Lots of people asked me about the transition, "this isn't your first time moving, you lived in Florida right after college." They were all right, after college I pulled one of my crazy, "I'm going to move without a job or place to live, it will be fine." And it was. But within that experience I knew, Florida was only temporary. I knew that if anything happened I could always go home. Joplin was home.
California was different. I knew it would be permanent. I knew I would be making a whole new life with my super amazing Husband. One conversation that I had with a friend made a lot of difference for me. Most people wondered why I was crying so much, he simply said, "You're mourning." And then expressed to me that it made sense that I would be mourning, I just left my entire life to start a new one. Within that conversation I gave myself the permission to mourn.
It seems like one thing to go from one Mid-West community to another. But going from the Mid-West to the West Coast. Well, for me it was crazy town. I was overwhelmed... I still get overwhelmed. Talk about culture shock. I feel like I should elaborate more. Joplin, population 50,000. Glendale, population almost 200,000. Glendale lies north east of L.A. and well, L.A. is the second most populated city in the U.S. "YAY." Let's, just say, Husband and I don't travel into L.A. unless it's for something specific. We spend a majority of our time in Burbank, which only has a population of about 100,000. Even such, everyone just pours over into everywhere.
So, have I actually talked about how I coped? I don't think so...
Let's start with the obvious. I cried A LOT. I cried every day for probably 4 months. There are still days when I want to come home and cry. There is a "pressure" in L.A., it doesn't go away, it's just a part of the city. I have had to learn to "breath," through the pressure. I have also learned to go slow and I'm very intentional about going slow. Everything moves fast here, so in order to cope I go slow. We have also learned to just be "different." We treat people like we would treat them in the Mid-West, which means saying hello to strangers, randomly show up at friends houses, and showing kindness and compassion. Two things that are lacking from a lot of places.
Without writing a novel right now, because I think I could, let me break it down.
How I coped:
1) I cried a lot and I gave myself permission to cry.
2) I slowed down and took a lot of deep breaths.
3) I talked a lot about what was going on with me, especially to Husband and mom.
4) I accepted what I was okay with handling and what was to much for me. I couldn't do things the same way I would have done things in Joplin and I was okay with that.
5) Hearing the experiences of others really helped. I learned that I wasn't the only one who felt this way after moving to this area. And I learned people who grew up in California, moved away and then come back to visit got overwhelmed and anxious too. I wasn't alone.
6) I did my best to work through my emotional struggles and sought professional help when I didn't understand. i.e. counselors are the best.
7) The more Husband and I were able to talk about my struggles the better.
I feel like I'm cutting myself off mid-sentence, because I have so many stories... maybe I should right that novel. ha!
Moving is tough, changes are tough, and we're not along. Have your experienced big crazy changes in your life? How did you cope? xoxo. Samantha