You guys, almost one year ago exactly I started on my journey from Pittsburgh to Austin. Little Zenon, my car, was packed with all the possessions that qualified to make the move with me. (I still miss these mirrors more than I should.) After three days of driving in questionable conditions, first to Nashville and then arriving way beyond hangry in Texarkana, we finally arrived in Austin. Here’s the letter I wish I had received before the move.
Hey girl heyyy!
You’re finally making the big move to Austin! You’ve been talking about this for 5 years. Looks like you had a five year plan without even realizing it, go you! This is equal parts exciting and terrifying and that is a-ok. Trust yourself and the unknown. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. You always make good decisions and you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. Try not to get so stressed out about everything and enjoy the adventure that moving across the country to this new city is.
Dude, the tacos are going to be so good. Like, seriously. You have never had a taco this good in your life. Probably don’t eat tacos three days in a row on the reg though. Your metabolism isn’t what it was in your early 20s. 😉
Don’t feel pressured to do things just because you feel like you should since you live here now. You live here now, you don’t have to go to SXSW the week after you move. There will be other SXSWs and, guess what, you don’t have to go to those if you don’t want to either. You are still sleeping on an air mattress and waiting for your internet to be activated. You’re much happier getting pizza and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer in your apartment by yourself, so embrace it!
Trust your gut when applying for jobs. That abrasive Texan who is making his employees noticeably uncomfortable in the interview is probably not a good fit for you. You’ll walk into an interview a week later and have the complete opposite feeling. You get that job and soon after you finally feel some relief.
You’re going to cry a lot. You feel overwhelmed going to a JMU alumni volunteer day and start crying in the car on the way there. You have to skip it. You eat pancakes at IHOP and feel better. You dye your hair too dark of a shade of purple and cry about how you ruined the one thing in your life that was making you happy. This is a bit extreme, but it’s ok. You end up deciding you look like a comic book super hero and it fades to a better shade after 2 washes. Talk to a therapist and don’t be scared of going on meds for your anxiety. It’s not going to prevent you from being yourself.
You’ll get to ride on a boat with Walk the Moon and it is exactly what you pictured your life in Austin looking like. At their show later that night they play “Portugal” and you feel all the feels in the best way possible.
Friends visiting is the best! No one wanted to visit you when you lived in Pittsburgh, but everyone wants to make a trip to Austin. You get to explore new places, introduce them to the best queso and your favorite local coffee shop. It’s a refreshing feeling being around people you are completely comfortable with.
You’ll realize you’ve been in Austin for 6 months and you have a breakdown. You think you should have more friends and your life completely figured out already. Calm down and breathe. Six months is such a short period of time. Don’t put this pressure on yourself. You’re not going to have besties the same caliber as the ones from home. You’ve known those people since you were 12. Establishing adult friendships takes time. Give yourself a break. You’ll join things in the future and start to make friends.
Schedule Sunday Skype dates with your far away friends. It’s a great way to get your tush out of bed at a respectable hour and your heart is always happier after.
You think you need to wait until you’re living by yourself to become the cat lady you are meant to be. You don’t. You’ll see this precious little kitty face while casually scrolling through the Austin Pets Alive site and know that she’s the one.
Even though everything won’t be easy and there will be too many #feelz to count, you’ll realize you’re exactly where you should be. You don’t feel like you’re in limbo anymore. You’re not waiting for something to happen. You’re here and you get to create the life you want. Keep it up, girl, you’re doing great.
P.S. Go to Barton Spring sooner. It’s rad.
If you’re planning on making a cross country moves anytime soon here are some tips! For funzies here’s the music I was listening to around the time of my move and the first few months in ATX.
Have you ever moved to a new city? Did you have any similar experiences or were they drastically different?