Some of you may remember that moving five times in four states is at the top of my resume. Moving (for me) equals having heartbreaking goodbyes. I put down my emotional roots deep, fast, and hard. In fact, I’m slightly stalker-ish when I arrive and meet new people: “Hi, my name is Elizabeth. Can we be besties?”
Currently living in an area with large numbers of military families also gives us a plethora of case studies literally at our front door in how to love or hate where you live. I offer you five simple attitude and perspective shifts to help you in any future moves (or in accepting where you currently are).
Drop the comparing bit
Remember the character, Phoebe, the annoying girl on The Magic School Bus, that was always comparing everything to her old school? It’s a normal human reaction to compare old to new yet, “We did it this way where I came from,” can be a broken record and a circular mental track that gets you nowhere and might give you a few enemies.
Many years ago, I remember calling a friend from the city I just moved from and told her that everyone was uglier in our new city. UGLIER. I SAID AN ENTIRE POPULATION WAS UGLY BECAUSE I WAS SCARED AND UNCOMFORTABLE. I was young, y’all—please forgive me–don’t make the same mistake.
Shift gears quickly and you will be the better for it and far less annoying to those who would love to get to know you for you who are now. Here. Not then and there.
Beware of the pastures that only look greener in the rearview mirror.
Years ago, there was a family stationed here who hated Montana and were ecstatic to be transferred to Hawaii. “Finally,” I thought, “she won’t have anything to complain about,” for who could be unhappy in paradise? But SHOCKER: they found things to complain about there too and kept posting on social media how much they missed everything here in Montana–it was quite odd. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion but it can also cloud the joy in where you are and who you are with currently. Put positive memories in their proper place and look forward to beauty in the here and now. Recognize when you’re stuck looking backward, change your perspective and look for the beauty–I promise you will find it! I read recently that, “The grass is always greener where you water it.” So water sooner rather than later, deeper rather than shallower and generously instead of frugally.
Gravitate toward the lovers not the haters.
If you start talking to people who only say negative things about the area, neighborhood, or city—stop asking them. Find the people who can impart the best camping places, parks, shopping, and new restaurants—they will make it fun and wonderful.
Hang out with people who have lived in an area for most of their life or have relocated and stayed because they chose to find the good. Glean ideas and suggestions from them and you too will have a fabulous time exploring your new home.
Weather is uncontrollable everywhere.
I think it’s God’s way of italicizing and underlining that we haven’t figured out everything yet.
Every region of the country has people who have told us, “If you don’t like the weather, wait _____ minutes.” And they’re right—weather truly is unpredictable, which brings me to my annual winter public service announcement:
Everywhere is the same yet different.
We’ve lived in four drastically different states and travelled through most of the rest and there are rich/poor, kind/oblivious, givers/takers, and people-that-don’t-know-they’re-crazy and people-that-do everywhere. You really can be content anywhere if you work on the one thing you can control—your attitude.
Whatever you see, you will find. Find the good, the beautiful and the amazing and you will have a good, beautiful and amazing life.
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