Settling Into a New City

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”

-Shannon L. Alder

Settling into a new city has it’s challenges, but it also has so many rewards. When I took this leap to move to Jacksonville from Amarillo, alone, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I mean, I knew I had a job, a place to live, and I had 1 friend (love ya, Morgy). But overall, I had no idea what to expect.

I have fallen completely and apologetically in love with the City of Jacksonville, Florida. I feel in my heart of hearts that this is the place where I am going to live out the rest of my days. I cannot express enough gratitude to my friends and family that helped me get here. You’re all greatly appreciated.

Still, there are challenges. Some I’ve faced and I’m conquering and others I’m still working through. Here are they are:

It’s expensive as hell

I don’t know how much the devil charges for rent, but like, he needs to chill so the rest of the universe can lower the cost of living.

When I moved here, I was like “I’m gonna save ALL THE MONEY” and while I am, it’s not as much as I thought I would. Big cities are expensive to live and to play in. Luckily I’m a trash monster and none of the joints I hit up are too bougie, but damn it’s still a pricey place.

Be prepared to live paycheck to paycheck for a while until you get on your feet. It’s been a month and a half and.. we’re getting there. It’s a slow process, but if you’re patient and can follow a mean budget then you’ll be golden, pony boy.

Apartments suck

I don’t really need to go into too much detail here, but if I can make it through the crack house, murdery-vibe, backwoods apartment that I’ve found myself in then you can do anything.

I did SO MUCH research before I came and I thought I’d found the perfect place, but it turns out to be quite the opposite. *7 more months* it’s something I wake up and have to say to myself every day. However, now that I’m getting to know the area more and more I’m finding cute, kitschy neighborhoods that I can wait to have future homes in. It’s all about being patient when it comes to your living situation.

What is traffic?

It’s not that I wasn’t prepared for their to be traffic, but it’s like.. I was not prepared for there to be traffic! Some days it takes me 15 minutes to get to work, other days it’s an hour and twenty minutes. Monday-Wednesday it takes me about an hour to get home – and that’s a good day. Thursday-Sunday it’s a free for all, there’s no rules.

During my traffic I practice mindfulness, focus on prayers, and just try to enjoy the windows down listening and meditating on the world around me. Most people choose to be angry and frustrated during these bumper-to-bumper interactions, but I don’t. I choose to enjoy it.

New friends, new friends

I was ~blessed~ to have a friend already living in Jax by the time I got here and another near Orlando. I am so grateful for these people and hold them very dear to my heart, but I also love meeting new people. It’s been an interesting journey meeting new friends to say the least. My best advice here: trial and error friendship dating.

All the new people I’ve met, I’ve given them 3 chances. The first “date” is awkward and you’re both trying to be cool, right? The second “date” your guard is down a bit more and you get to know that person a bit more. The third “date” you should be comfortable enough to make a decision whether this person can enter your circle of friends.

It’s a process, but having a clean slate right is something you don’t get often and you want to be particular about who you’re surrounding yourself with. Jeff Olson write in the Slight Edge that the 5 people you surround yourself with are going to end up being part of your personality traits – so make them good, worthy people.

Lonely days

Although I have an extroverted personality, I don’t mind being alone and recharging my batteries every once and a while. Being a little fish in a big pond, I’ve experienced a lot of recharging lately.

To combat my lonely days, which luckily are few between, I’ve created some positive things to do to help. Reading, painting, writing, and exploring this fascinating city are just a few.

If you’re moving to a new city, lonely days are ahead and be prepared for that.

Missing home

I miss my family, gah do I miss my family. I miss my friends and my dogs and sometimes I just miss being somewhere familiar. There are days where I really struggle with combating homesickness. I cry at work and on the highway and spend my whole day texting and calling those back at home.

Then I go to the beach, or downtown, or go see the river and think to myself, “I get to live in the most beautiful city ever, have the greatest job, meet the most amazing people, and start over.” That’s when I suck up my tears, give Elly a kiss on the forehead, and go to bed.

Settling in a new city is challenging, but the rewards you will reap when it’s all over are incredible. So, as I’ve said previously: take the leap. Make the tough, big choices and live your best life. You only get one, so do what you want and be happy.