In a previous post, I wrote about how Rowell and I made the decision to move our family to a new city and how difficult that decision was for us.
In todays post, I reflect on my life since my family and I made the move to the Bay Area and the 5 major life lessons that I’ve learned from my experience that I want to share with you.
1. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Things will take time. Moving to a new city is a big deal, especially with little kids. It’s okay to let it soak in for a while and not be in such a hurry to get things done. I fell victim to the thought that I had to do everything right away and if I didn’t the world would end. Naturally I’m like that with every aspect of my life and I really need to learn to give myself a break sometimes and just chill. The stress that I was under was all self induced and unnecessary. When I look back now, I wish I spent more time taking walks, going for a drive, playing with my kids and not being so serious. Also, I was home all day, I felt I NEEDED to always be doing something. So while juggling the kids I would prepare these elaborate dinners, do 5 loads of laundry while organizing our closets. Before long, this started to wear me out and it was making me tired, cranky and unhappy. Again, no-one was pressuring me to do all these things. It was all coming from me. Now I have these talks with myself that go something like this…”Barb, just chill the (bleep) out!”. It seems to be working.
2. There will be moments of isolation. You no longer have your family and friends that you can get in a the car and see whenever you want. There will be moments where you feel completely alone. Even though I have my husband and kids to keep me plenty busy and preoccupied, there are still moments where I miss my friends and family and wish I could just call them up to hang out or plan a play date with our kids.
One of the things that I have to admit is really hard as an adult is making new friends. It’s not as easy when you’re so busy and have to consciously make the effort to go out and meet other people. I forced myself to get out of the house and go on mommy meet-ups if not for my sake but for Gabe’s. I wanted him to interact with other kids and not be stuck with me in the house all day. It’s still a struggle for me to get out and meet new people because its so much easier to stay in the comfort of my home but the social side of me is severely hurting. Lately I’ve met a few moms in the most unconventional ways (this is another blog post in itself) and I’m inspired by how many families share the same story as ours. We live in a city where the majority of the people have moved from somewhere else and share the same struggles we have. Its comforting to know that we are not alone in this.
3. Get out of your comfort zone. Moving in itself is getting out of your comfort zone but thats just the beginning. You have to be willing to get uncomfortable, almost on a daily basis. Sometimes it can be downright nerve-racking. Ironically, getting uncomfortable will make you more comfortable and get used to the changes sooner. Each day, I would go explore the city with Gabe (this was before Emilia was born) and we would try a different park each day. This forced me to drive a different route, see a different neighborhood, be around different people, every single day. At first, I was dragging my feet through the whole process but now its second nature to me. If we want to go somewhere new, we go. I noticed that this had a positive effect on Gabe also because he has become more adaptable and open-mined.
4. It will make you a stronger person. You have to adapt to a different setting, location, culture and your day-to-day routine changes. Building up the courage to do this already makes you a strong willed person but not giving up when it gets tough is the true test. It will get difficult and there may be moments of regret or second thoughts. You will have moments where you will ask yourselves, “what the heck did we just do?!” I know I had them from time to time and you know what I had to do? Ignore that annoying voice. Its natural to second guess your decision, especially during challenging times but knew (and still remind myself constantly) that if we can survive this adjustment period as a family, we could survive anything. Not only does this process make ME a stronger person but it makes our FAMILY stronger together.
5. It will make you resilient. You’ll have an outlook on life that will enable you to change courses easily and bounce back from set backs and see failures as opportunities. You’ll see the silver lining in the worst circumstances because you view the world in a different way. You become more tolerant of people’s differences and the experience of moving to a new city will make you a more confident person. Confidence will lead to courage to do other things in life that you’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always had a can-do attitude but this experience has strengthened that exponentially. There’s really nothing that I feel I am not capable of doing if I put my mind to it and I want my kids to grow up with the same positive attitude, confidence and courage to live the life they dream about.
These pictures were taken at the Pulgas Water Temple in Redwood City. We went exploring as a family the day after Thanksgiving, so while everyone was fighting the crowds at the stores, we were at one of the most serene places I’ve ever been to. There was only a few families there and most were taking their holiday photos. It is off of Canada Rd. in Redwood City and is open during the weekdays from 9am-4pm. There is no admission or parking fee.
It’s such a great place to relax, unwind and get away from the crowds. On the weekends, Pulgas Water Temple can be even reserved for weddings!
After this experience it is now our family tradition to explore a new place the day after Thanksgiving.