Everything changes once you take off and start somewhere new. When you first land, it’s normal to feel anxious, scared, maybe even a little sick to your stomach, and excited. Then you blink and months fly by as your feet get firmly planted in your new surroundings. Every day your life starts slowly piecing itself together like the stills of a stop-motion movie.
If you only stop and take a moment to reflect, here are some of the beautiful things you might realize once you’ve left your old life behind:
1. You Miss The Little Things You Once Took For Granted.
Noises you used to hear every day become foreign to you. From the little "beep" noise the MetroCard makes when you swipe to the sound the pedestrian crossing signal annoyingly chirps, you’ll long for all the sounds that used to piss you off. When I moved across the country from NYC to Los Angeles, I clung to my MetroCard even though I used to despise all that it symbolized — brawls in the subway, 3 a.m. throw up, and homeless men’s strip shows. And if you’re anything like me, you definitely miss the steal that is drunk $1 pizza and all the little things you used to overlook.
2. You Mature Much Faster.
When you move away by yourself, you learn to lick your wounds on your own. There is no hand-holding when you break out alone. Independence is yours now, and you’ve learned to survive. Making money, investing in stocks, and making rent take priority over anything else. Now you have new friends, but you made them after becoming your own best friend first and foremost.
3. You Become A More Confident Version of Yourself.
When you move, you have to rebuild everything. During this process, you learn new skills. You learn to do laundry, drive (maybe even like a NASCAR driver), and actually start liking the person you see in the mirror. You learn to love and take care of yourself in new ways, both big and small.
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4. Your New Friends Become Your Family.
Distance from your childhood and lifelong pals makes your heart grow bigger and softer. Along your journey of rebuilding your life, you make new friends but never forget your old ones. Since you were very vulnerable and alone when you first unpacked your boxes or suitcases, you meet the best kind of people, the ones who are welcoming and natural nurturers. These rare gems have souls that will be there for you through thick and thin. It may sound cliche, but they really do become your family — especially when you have no one to spend Christmas with, and they invite you over to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and stuff your face.
5. You Realize Why You Left In the First Place.
I’m not going to lie — I do get homesick from time to time. I never thought I would do this, but sometimes I look up pictures of my old place on Google satellites or scan multiple GIFs of NYC at my desk in Universal City. But then a visit back quickly reminds me that the thought of home is very different than actually being home. The reality of the past looks a lot shinier than the present, and returning never feels as good as the actual thought of coming home. If you ever return to see all the people and places you’ve missed while away, you’ll likely realize why you left in the first place. Going home can be very nostalgic, but like your childhood Reptar slippers, that “home” no longer fits. You’ve simply outgrown it and are better off for it.