Sex & Life
Sex & Life July 5, 2018
Just because you're independent doesn't mean you should handle this solo.
Two hours after my college graduation ceremony, I moved out of my small house in Colorado Springs. With my life in my car, I set west for the City of Angels. I spent the 15-hour drive imagining my future set to the soundtrack of “Party in the USA” or “Unwritten.”
It wasn’t quite what I expected. While I’m happy with my decision so far, moving to Los Angeles, one of the most populated cities in the U.S. has been a crazy, overwhelming, scary and wonderful experience.
For those of you making similar moves soon, learn from my mistakes. These are my five tips for making that big move.
When I imagined what my journey would be like, I fantasized about a solo road trip through the desert. I thought because I wanted to be independent, the journey there should be a solo mission as well.
After a few weeks of back and forth with my parents over the prospect of my independent driving experience, they decided they didn’t feel comfortable letting me, a 22-year-old woman with no knowledge of cars or geography, drive alone for over 1,000 miles.
At first, I was stubborn, telling them I really thought I’d learn from the experience. The next thing I knew, I was asleep in the passenger’s seat while my mom drove 12 of the 15 hours.
When we got to LA, she bought me groceries, helped me unpack, and most of all, made me feel less alone.
In a city of millions, it’s never a bad thing to feel loved by your mom. It’s also never a bad idea to have some company on such a long trip, or to have a little extra help.
For the entire drive, I had the navigation guiding me to the apartment I had rented for the summer. After weeks of researching neighborhoods and scouring sublet posts, I thought I found the perfect place. I was wrong.
When we pulled up, my mom immediately let out a groan. I tried my best to stay positive, but I was groaning twice as loud of the inside. The place was falling apart and looked even worse when we got past the chainlink fence. On my way to the door, I got catcalled twice. This was supposed to be my new front yard!
After discussing the situation with my mom and the landlord, I was able to get out of the sublet agreement. Hours later, I found a place that is actually perfect in a neighborhood where I felt happy and safe.
It was hard at first to admit my mistake, but I am so happy that I did. No amount of internet research can really show you where you belong in a city, especially one as big as Los Angeles. Having some flexibility and learning to budge helped me to get what I actually wanted, instead of what I could settle for.
I began my job only hours after I arrived in the city, so I didn’t have time to feel homesick. However, the moment I had a weekend alone, I started to feel the burden. These were some of my most difficult moments because the busier I was, the less time I had to miss anything.
Distraction is key when you’re adjusting to a new lifestyle. Trying to find new friends is one way to get over this hurdle, but that’s easier said than done. If you have nothing to do there are other options besides staying in your apartment: you can explore, read, write, exercise, go to a museum or do whatever sounds like fun to you. As long as you’re not sitting inside wallowing in nostalgia, you can get past the loneliness.
In a city as big as LA, walking, driving and just living here can be chaotic. After a day full of wolf whistles and road rage, I can’t wait to get to my room and hear myself think.
Whether you live alone or have a roommate, no space is too small to create a comfortable space. For me, comfort is made of candles, comfy blankets and photos of the people I love. Figure out what makes you relax and fill your space with those things. If you’re feeling homesick, try and fill it with familiar objects or scents.
This one is probably the most cliche piece of advice I have to offer, but it’s the most important. Leaving home, whether that was your childhood town or your college, can feel like a tragedy. Entering a city of filled with total unknowns can be completely terrifying.
However, it can also be magical.
While it may be tempting to call and Facetime friends from home, they’re not going anywhere. Spend time making new friends and opening yourself up to everything your new city has to offer. You’ll gain so much.
While you’re bound to have negative experiences, like that time you get lost and call your mom crying, you’ll also have some of the best of your life — if you let yourself.
So far, I can tell you this: While sometimes I wish I was home with my girls all around me, and this is definitely not a Nashville party, I think it might just be better. I’ll just need to adjust my soundtrack.
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