8 Tips for those who are contemplating a move to a new city

8 months ago I moved to Nashville on my own. 

Many people have asked me if I’m happy I made the move and how I like my new city.  I always say yes, which is true, but there are so many other emotions I need to share.  It can’t be categorized by good or bad.  It just is.  For some reason, I woke up today and had to get this down on paper.  It’s like I can finally reflect on what just happened to me over the past 8 months confidently. I’ve been on this ride and shot out of the cannon and have now safely landed on the other side.

My last two years have been UNCOMFORTABLE… but in the best possible way.   

Looking back, I can now see that my last year in DC was hard for me.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but the place I called home for 11 years, no longer felt right.  That’s a hard pill to swallow.  

I was forcing my life and forcing outcomes.  My intuition was screaming at me for growth, but it was too scary to face it.  I craved change, but didn’t want to do anything about it.  I noticed I stopped being proud of my city. When people came to visit, I no longer felt an energy to show it off.  I fell out of love with DC.  Some would say I am lucky… no job, family, boyfriend, or house to tie me down.  But because of this freedom, it also meant my decisions were solely based on my own doing. I had no one to blame if I was unhappy.      

Then it hit me… I had outgrown my city.  That’s not to say it wasn’t still the best city or the people weren’t the best people.  It was just that I had changed and DC no longer served me to reach my higher purpose.  Plus, this is hard to admit, but I was lonely (while being surrounded by TONS of amazing people).  In a way, that’s the worst type of lonely.  You feel ashamed you’re lonely when you have so many great people in your life.  How can that be? But now I realize, it was just the simple fact that I wasn’t in alignment and I needed to make a change.  The same old routine wasn’t fulfilling to me anymore.  I was holding onto the past because the future seemed so uncertain.

So then I decided to make the move.   I never had doubts about moving (because my gut knew it was right) but then came the months leading up to the move where I was straddling my old life in DC and my new life in Nashville.  Now THAT is uncomfortable.  It’s like hurry up and wait.  I had to be okay with the unknown and saying goodbye to what I knew.  It’s the biggest leap of faith I’ve ever taken.   That was the worst part because you have to stay so true to yourself and know you are on the correct path, even when you’re waiting for your new life to begin. 

Then the move finally came.  I felt completely unsettled for months on end (oh, I still do).  And it’s terrifying that overnight EVERY aspect of my life had changed in an instant.  All of my routines were gone. All of my friends and family seemed so far away.  I had to become okay with the fact that I didn’t know what was going on in my friend’s lives on the day to day. I had to become okay with being uncomfortable.

To be honest, I never really had an “oh crap, what did I just do” moment or any dark depressing nights where I regretted it one bit.  But there were nights where I wasn’t sure what to do with myself and I wanted to run back to the comfort of my old life.  But I knew that if I did that, it wouldn’t feel right either.  The only comfort I had is that deep down, I knew in my gut that this was part of my plan.  So I kept my faith and kept chugging along. 

Then all of a sudden, I had a night where I noticed I was proud of my new city. I think this happened after about 3 months.  I walked down the street, smiling for no reason. I appreciated the new differences about Nashville (even though I miss so much about DC).  I began to meet people that made it feel comfortable.  And more and more of these nights keep happening.   I almost feel guilty that I feel happy because I know there are so many people that aren’t. 

But it isn’t the actual move that’s made me happy.  It’s the fact that I listened to my intuition when it was talking to me.  It was the fact that I did what I wanted, even when others didn’t agree or didn’t want me to move.  It’s the fact that I, once again, took control of my life instead of complaining about it.  And it’s the fact that I realized I’ve grown more in 8 months than I did in the last three years. NOW THAT’S SCARY. 

The loneliness is still there… but it’s a different and better type of lonely. It’s more of a feeling of “being alone” than lonely.  And it actually feels okay.  I’ve never spent so much time with myself than after this move.  You begin to face the things you’ve been hiding for so long. I feel confident doing things alone now.   

The crazy thing about Nashville is that almost every person I’ve met here went through the exact same thing.  They moved here on their own because they just felt it in their gut that they needed a fresh start, craved change, wanted to be independent, and even start their own business.  Now those are my people.  Nashville must just attract a special breed.

8 tips for those that are contemplating a move to a new city:

  • A move is not a quick fix to solve your problems. Your problems will follow you… but if anything, it makes you realize what your problems were in the first place.  And when I say problems, I mean growth areas. For those that think a move will immediately change everything about you – it won’t.  Shocker, I’m still a slob, still need to get in a “work from home” routine, and still need to exercise more.

  • You can have it all. When I left DC, I thought I was losing a part of me. But now I can have the best of both worlds. I truly appreciate my old city, all it taught me, and how it shaped me in my 20s.  I can visit when I want, see my friends, and feel alive again when I am there.  I can meet new people here that challenge me and keep me authentic.

  • Moving allows you to shed those layers of yourself that were no longer serving you. You can leave behind the areas that have become so ingrained in your life that you don’t even realize they are there.  When you’re forced WAY out of your comfort zone in a whole new land, you finally have a chance to CHOOSE how you want your life to look. Who do you want to surround yourself with? What type of people do you want to attract? What activities bring you joy?

  • Moving is a chance for new routines.  I’ve changed a lot of my old bad habits just by getting some new scenery. I drink & shop less, I cook more, and choose to buy more activities rather than things. I have tried new sports. I have thrown myself into my new business. I get more sun and get out of the house more.

  • Run towards something, not away from something.  I wasn’t leaving DC to escape my problems. I was running towards opportunity and growth.

  • You have a clean slate when it comes to friendships. When you meet new people, it’s a chance to be your authentic self. It’s so easy to “get people to like you” by trying to fit in with them.  But this is the opportunity to do the exact opposite.  Be completely who you are and the right people will stick around.  It’s a pretty cool experiment to NOT force friendships and where you see who you attract in your life. 

  • Don’t listen to what others think.  If you feel it in your heart for a change or a move. Do it. Follow your own path, not theirs.

  • Say yes… A LOT.  Now that I’ve done so many things that I’ve been uncomfortable with over the last year, it just gets easier and easier.  I started a New to Nashville group and organized a Dragon Boat team to meet people. I joined tons Nashville facebook groups to get connected to the community. I am getting my business out there by being a vendor at a local fair. I had friends of mine set me up on “friend dates” with people they know that also live here. I joined a running club and a wine club. I go to events in my apartment complex. DO. IT. ALL. (but don’t force).


Can you relate?

Do you know deep down you need to make that change, but are avoiding it?

All I can say is… DO IT. Follow your intuition.