Hit The Road, Jack (Or Jill)

by Samantha on November 5, 2010

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Dear Fellow 20-somethings, here’s a piece of advice: move. No, no, I’m not telling you to get out of my way…I can’t even see you, sillies. I’m suggesting that, at least once in this wonderful time of kidless freedom, you pack up all of your stuff and relocate. There are a number of ways to do this, from the least extreme to the most, but even if your move is on the less dramatic end of the spectrum, it will still make a big impact on your life.

It’s funny, 16-year-old me would read this post and her jaw would drop to the ground. That’s because my parents and I moved states when I was that age and it was not easy. But, what I’m talking about here is not a teenage decision, it’s a young adult decision, and looking back, even that difficult move definitely helped me grow as a person. That’s why I’m telling you to move. Whether you move from Brooklyn to Manhattan, as I did this year, from suburbs to city, from parents’ home to your own home, or halfway across the country, as some of my friends have, moving definitely expands your horizons. The world is an awesome place, no two locations are exactly alike. Here we are in our 20s, some of us married or on our way, most of us without children. If the opportunity presents itself to move to a new home, and you can handle it financially, by all means do it! You may never have the chance again.

In addition to the wonder and excitement of new surroundings, the actual process of moving is a formative experience in and of itself. It’s stressful and overwhelming and scary all at once, and although we probably don’t realize it at the time, surviving that combination is a sign of true strength and character. If you can handle moving, you’ll be prepared for any professional crisis that comes your way. Sure, you may have freaked out and found yourself sobbing amongst piles of boxes, but you made it through. That’s got to count for something.

The other thing about being in a new place is that it gives us the opportunity for a fresh start. It’s our chance to totally rock life and live the way we’ve always wanted to live. Be more outgoing, have more fun, learn a new hobby, challenge yourself to meet new people, recreate yourself…nobody knows you, so they won’t know the difference. And, take advantage of what your new zip code has to offer. Pretend you’re a tourist and see all the sights, big and small. You might just find that you like it better than the place you came from.

I try to remind myself that life is too short to be anything but happy. Sure, some things are beyond our control. But, if you’re not happy where you are, doing what you’re doing, maybe it’s time to relocate.

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  • http://harrietmay.com/ Harriet May

    I love this advice, and I’m itching to move. But I just can’t. And it’s so silly, because for 8 years I went to school in England, so I was constantly back and forth between there and my parent’s home in Charlotte, NC, and I was looking forward to finally be in one place, and somewhat settled. Now that I am (and it’s been just over a year now) I can barely stand it! I think I’ll always be a nomad at heart. But I have a promising job now, and a boyfriend with a great job he just can’t leave, and doesn’t want to leave, and we do live right Uptown in Charlotte which I love. So, for now at least, I have to make peace with one place and hope that life has some adventure in store just around the corner, whether it’s in Charlotte or not.

    (And in the meantime, I’m saving up to travel.) :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    YES, short and simple but oh so true. It really gives you a new perspective and helps us grow :)

  • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

    Sam – Whew! I was reading and getting ready to reply with my patented “Life is not all about going someplace else to find yourself” response, til I noticed some of the other things you threw in there. :) Yes, I feel moving into your own place or across the state or something similar is an extremely rewarding for anyone. Because it is an opportunity to discover yourself, away from the you that you’ve always “had” to be. If that makes any sense?

    However I think we, as a privileged class of young people, sometimes make the decision of moving and relocating too easy. Because we know “how” to do it (at least the basic concept and steps necessary.) And most of us know we have a safety net awaiting us if something goes wrong. And most of us are pretty baggageless. But I think of my family, in the mountains of Western Maine (imagine rural Tenneesee or something…) Most are married w/kids by age 20 or 21. They don’t even think to dream of a different life, because that is just not part of that population. Or if they do dream of it, they don’t know the means by which to achieve it. Or being a Mom with a family who loves you and a modest lifestyle might be just the dream for them.

    Moving and relocation and setting out on your own is a luxury that we often pass off as “anyone can do it” but not everyone can so easily – or wants to.

  • http://twentyorsomething.com Susan Pogorzelski

    Great post, Sam!

    It’s funny how when I bought my house it was such a huge step for me — one of my proudest moments for my own life. But I didn’t realize that other people would see it that way. I thought it was a big deal for me, but that others would shrug and go “big deal, people do that all the time.” Then, when I moved in, I didn’t think about just how much would change — especially in my relationship with my family and missing them — trying to figure out where I fit in now.

    When you’re the one in the process of moving — whether it’s overseas, across state lines, or the next town over — you don’t think about how much it will affect you (or others) and how big of a deal it really is. But it is. Because it’s so personal — a brand new part of your life. No matter where you move, you’re starting a new journey, and with each new journey, you’re able to discover something new about yourself. As you say, it’s like it’s another step to becoming the person you want to be with the life you want to live.

    Pretty cool, that.

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Hi Harriet! England sounds like so much fun! I’ve only been there for a
    couple of short visits, but I know it’s a great place. I can also relate to
    your current situation. My move was only from one borough to another because
    my then boyfriend and I both had good jobs in Manhattan. Now we’re engaged,
    and he’s in law school, so we’ll be here a while longer. You’re right
    though, traveling is also a fantastic way to experience new and different
    places. I hope you get to go somewhere fun soon! Thanks for the comment!

  • Marissa Greenberg

    Sam, this post was great! I totally know what you are talking about, from my move this summer and for the next move in a year and a half which we are already talking about. It also interesting seeing a lot of my friends having to pack up their childhood homes because our parents are now downsizing. I haven’t had to do it yet but after seeing friends go through it, it is therapeutic in a different way from moving on our own.

  • http://www.rookiewifediaries.blogspot.com Lindsey

    I completely agree! Now I’m married and settled down…but god I wish I had just picked up and moved to a new city for a new start. I feel like I missed out a little.

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Totally! You’re a perfect example :)

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Elisa-I would never write one of those posts. I mean, my move was only from one borough to another. I’ll be here for the next 2 1/2 years because Rob’s in law school…so I’m definitely not one to preach grand adventures to find oneself.

    You make a great point though. Some people move because they think it’s cool or just for the heck of it. They’re not doing it to grow and learn. I don’t agree with those reasons. We have to maintain perspective and be grateful for the freedom we have, and recognize that some people our age do not have as many options.

    If I remember correctly, you just moved to a place closer to downtown. Even that change of scenery has to be pretty eye opening, especially considering your recent job transition. Anyway, thanks for sharing your two cents!

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Exactly, Susan! It’s a new journey, and with that comes new opportunities to learn about the world and yourself. Owning your own home is a big step, and I’m so proud of you for taking it. Thanks for the comments!

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Thanks Missa! You definitely know all about moving. From Jersey to Baltimore to Arizona…you’ve been all over the country! You make a great point too. Moving by our own choice is a totally different experience than having to move because of someone else’s choices. That said, I understand our parents’ desire to have a more manageable space.

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    It’s tough to look back and wish you had taken advantage of some of the opportunities you had in the past. But, even though it’s more difficult to move once you’re settled and starting a family, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Plus, there are other ways to experience the country and the world, like traveling! I bet there are even places in your hometown and surrounding areas that you’ve never been to because you’re so used to driving by them. Why not play tourist and check them out? Make the most of life, wherever you are! Thanks for the comments Lindsey!

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