Thriving–not just surviving–after a move
Written by: Khadeja
I have experienced moving many times throughout my life. Whether it was moving house or moving countries, I always managed to adapt and thrive in my new environment. So when it came time to move again in my late twenties, I didn’t bat an eye. However, moving on your own when you’re 29 is quite different from moving when you’re 9 and with your parents. In the months leading up to my big move, I was concerned with making sure I was prepared when it came to material things; I didn’t think that it would be a good idea to mentally and emotionally prepare myself. I assumed–which is the worst thing you can ever do in any situation!–that this move would be the same as my previous ones. But of course I was proven wrong.
I believe in living life with no regrets, especially since our beautiful religion discourages going into a cycle of “what if” questions. Alhamdulillah, I managed to settle into my new life and new surroundings eventually, but I would definitely recommend the following to any of my sisters embarking on a new journey:
- Mentally prepare yourself for the changes to come. I don’t mean wallow/worry/freak out but rather sit down with yourself somewhere comfortable and inspiring–I suggest a place in nature, as I personally have found natural settings to be the most calming and inspiring–and think about all the changes to come. Get yourself excited, but at the same time, accept that there will be challenges.
- Turn to God. Ask for His help and guidance, and ask Him to give you the strength you need in order to thrive. Think about your move as a test from God to see how much you trust His guidance and plan for you. As Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once said, “A strong believer is better and more beloved to God than a weak believer.” We were created to be strong and versatile. Embrace these traits.
- Research the city that you will be moving to and come up with a list of places that you would like to visit. I would even go as far as booking tickets for events/plays/exhibits so that you have something to look forward to when you arrive.
- If you are moving to a foreign city, start learning the language before your move.
- If you plan on working during some point after your move, I suggest getting a head start on job searching. Yes, you may want to spend some time acclimating to your new surroundings first before beginning a job, but it can take time to find one. Start looking before you move just to build up momentum.
- The world is a village, so it is very likely that you already know someone in your destination city. Connect with them as they will prove to be an invaluable source of knowledge and also comfort. But don’t use them as a crutch; keep things balanced and be comfortable figuring things out on your own.
- Meetup. Meetup. I cannot recommend this website enough without it seeming that I am benefiting directly from the company for advertising! Even if you already have a friend, making new ones is very important. And let’s be honest, it’s not as easy to do when you’re older; it’s not like the good old days when you could offer a brownie to that kid on the playground and suddenly become friends for life! It takes more effort and a willingness to get out of your comfort zone. There is a Meetup group for absolutely anything you can think of, so different groups could help you brush up on different skills (*hint hint* certain groups would be great additions to your resume!).
- Use this opportunity to reflect on your life: Who are you? What are your strengths, weaknesses, and goals? There is a certain magic that comes with a new beginning; it makes you feel like anything is possible! If you ever wanted to re-invent yourself in any way or change career paths, now is a great time to experiment!
- Have a solid support group of people who you can vent/cry/whine/complain to when needed. I suggest family members since they are already stuck with you for life no matter where you are in the world! Your support group is crucial to get you through all the changes that come with a move. They don’t all need to be in the same city as you, since technology allows us to connect and interact despite the miles between us. But don’t fall into victim mode. Know that you can–and you will–adapt.
When you move, the most important thing is to keep an open mind and not to fall into the trap of comparisons. Try not to compare your “old” city with your new home. It’s an unfair comparison. You will get used to all the quirks and seemingly “odd” things about your new location and you will fall into a rhythm at your own pace. Change is scary but also exciting; just try your best to embrace it instead of resisting.
Know that, no matter what, you can make any new place your home and slowly but surely create a new life for yourself.