New city, new weather, new sights and sounds, new freeways to get used to, new coffee shoppes, new job, new neighborhood, new culture, new church, new everything.
When you first move away from home, it can become a little overwhelming. There are emotions and setbacks you face that no one nor any course could have prepared you for. Dear friend who moved away from home, I want you to know that I know it’s not always the easiest thing. But, I also want you to be encouraged and remind you that for this season, you have done the right thing. You are right where you belong.
For some, the first time you moved away from home was when you first left the nest for college or for others, it was when you married and moved across the country. For others, it’s a wondrous adventure and for some, it’s the scariest endeavor they have ever taken on. Whatever the reason for why you moved away from the city you felt safe and known, I want to encourage you to keep growing where you are, no matter how many times you wish you could just take a one-way ticket home.
I was 18 when I first moved away from home. Unlike others, I had no problem moving far away for college. Coming from a broken home, I was used to being apart from one of my parents from months on end, so this move to settle into a city where I wouldn’t be thrust between two homes was a welcome pace to the world I had been apart of for the previous four years. It wasn’t until after I graduated from college and moved to the state of Washington for a short period of time that I realized the gravity of what it meant to move away from home. Because home is more than just the city that you grew up in, home is a place that welcomes you with open arms by the people who love you and know you the best. I hadn’t realized how much my college city had become home to me until I had to leave.
In order to grow, life has to become a little uncomfortable. You have to learn to let go of places and people that were once familiar in order to step into the new relationships and gifts that God has for you. Is it easy? No, not at all. But, it is all apart of the journey called life. While you may have moved away from home and feel a little sad from time to time, missing people, places, sights and sounds that make a city a home, it is important to remember that as you plant your feet, this new city is becoming your home, too.
God will place new friendships into your life. Of course, it won’t replace the friendships and family relationships from back home, but it will add onto your life in a beautiful way. You will adapt to the new culture and learn to love foods, places, and hobbies that you would have never considered before.
When I was in high school and first visited Los Angeles, I hated it. I didn’t like it one tiny bit. Ten years later, Los Angeles is more than just an over-populated, glamorous, big city to me. It’s become wonderfully familiar, a city that I can’t imagine my life without. While I miss the Monterey Bay Area and my family dearly, this city is a place where I feel at home and can kick up my feet and relax (except for when I wear my Giants Baseball Cap around town. Things get tense here in L.A.) All of this to say, this city that I never thought I could live in on my own has become the very place I now call home. After college and living for a short time in the beautiful PNW, I made my way back to Los Angeles. I made my way back home. There are foods that I now can’t live without (did someone say tacos?) And, there are people who have impacted my life for the better and made me realize that though I didn’t know it all those years ago, were the very people I needed to become the person that God created me to be.
Dear friend who moved away from home, I understand that sometimes, uninvited emotions take a seat next to your morning coffee. And, know this. It’s okay to miss home. It’s okay to feel nostalgic about the city you long to return to. It’s okay to miss the familiarity of the place that had been apart of your life for so long. But, also know this. The city you reside in right now is inviting you into something new and beautiful. Because, one day, you may have to pack up your bags and leave this new place that you aren’t quite sure about. And, it is then, on that day, that you will realize how much this new city has become like an old friend. People, sights, sounds, places, foods, and more. All of these things are becoming intertwined into your story, and one day, you will look back and realize that the decision to leave home was one of the best you could have made. Every city gives us something, a gift, an invitation to settle in and find something extraordinary in its cracks. Let yourself miss home, but also let go and allow this new chapter of your story to take shape.