Sometimes, we make decisions that can completely change our lives. Everything you once knew is thrown out of the window. All your home comforts and safety nets gone… at the click of your fingers. It’s just you now and you have to start building your life all over again.
Many of us go through this in our lives, but what makes us do it? New beginnings are fun, exciting, and refreshing of course but they can also be very daunting, scary and at times, quite lonely.
Sometimes, it’s not a choice that we were given. Perhaps it was an unexpected break up from a long term love, or an unplanned pregnancy… or maybe, out of nowhere, you were let go by work. However it happens, it’s a shock to the system when these life changes are thrown upon us and it can be very difficult to adjust.
That said, it can be just as daunting when you make the decision for yourself. You will always compare your old life to your new and wonder if you made the right decision.
Six weeks ago, I took a huge step and moved across the Atlantic ocean to my new life, my new home, New York City. I had wanted to live in New York for over a year and it had taken me a long time to actually make it happen. It wasn’t easy. However, the day came when I was finally going to go, and all that waiting had been worth it.
In the weeks leading up to leaving England, huge doubts came over me.
I was saying goodbye to everyone, I did what you might call a ‘mini tour’ of my family and friends. When the time came to say goodbye to each person, it was so hard. I thought to myself “Why am I doing this? Why am I moving millions of miles away from the people I love? Am I crazy?” The only thing that made me get on that plane is the fact that I kept reminding myself how lucky I was to have the opportunity and that I had wanted this for a long time… at that point, I couldn’t see straight as I was blinded by my emotions. It felt like I was being pulled left, right, and centre. The excitement of moving to the big city, the anxiety of the unknown, the sadness of leaving my home, my friends, my family. It was an emotional rollercoaster.
In a way, it’s funny that it had such an effect on me. This wasn’t the first time I had left England to live in a different country. You would have thought I was an old hat at this game.
In 2007, I moved to Spain and lived there for three years. I suppose the difference was that Spain is one of our neighbouring countries and it doesn’t cost a packet to fly back and forth between the two. People were happy to send me off on my adventure. This time, when I said goodbye to people it seemed so final, like I was never going to see them again. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to come back and visit. I’m not made of money and apart from that, the time zone issue means I can’t really pop back for a weekend and working full time with not much holiday entitlement doesn’t really allow for a long break either!
So, how does one cope living in a city so far away from home? I must say, it’s a lot harder to cope with just by knowing that fact. It seems that people always want what they can’t have!
One thing is for certain, the world IS more connected these days – we have numerous social media sites to keep us looped in plus the emergence of skype has meant that we are able to feel like we are ‘down the road’ from each other when we’re on the other side of the planet. The different time zones can be problematic however… i.e. I get home from work in New York and everyone in England is in bed.
Which brings me to the most important thing we have to do in situations like these….
MAKE NEW CONNECTIONS!
It’s hard to put yourself out there but it needs to be done. We are all human and need REAL human contact to keep of a sane mind. It’s a sloooow process though.
I am making an effort but I still have moments where I feel lonely and that obviously makes me think of all my lovely friends back home and I miss them terribly. Of course, I don’t want to ever forget about them but it’s kind of like you have to ‘move on’ and get on with your life. You have to live in the ‘now’, if you are going to get by in this new world.
As I write this, I’m about to watch the sun go down over the Manhattan skyline from Astoria Park, in Astoria, my new neighbourhood. At the moment, I still feel massively torn between my two worlds, the old and the new but tomorrow will bring a new day, and with each day I will begin to find my feet in this strange but amazing city and each day will bring new adventures.
Life brings us amazing opportunities, it’s important to appreciate where you are today. The future is unknown but you have to trust that you made the right decisions and then really live it.