A year ago today, June 30, I was on the road from Seattle to Sacramento. With only the belongings I could stuff into my Toyota Corolla, I settled in for a 12 hour drive down the west coast to a new place in a familiar state. By the time I arrived, I was a little delirious—but I was also deeply excited to start this new adventure post-graduate school. I didn’t know what the year ahead had in store for me, and as I reflect on my experiences, these are some tips I wish I could’ve given myself then:
-Making friends is going to be really hard. You’re going to put yourself out there a lot, and that doesn’t always mean you’ll make meaningful connections. Hold fast to the meaningful people who are all far away right now—they’ll be your refuge. It’s going to be 9 months before you find your group. You’ll cry. You’ll spend your birthday alone with a spread of salami and cheese and a side of a bottle of wine. You’ll watch more Netflix than you should, and you’ll wonder if you made a mistake. And that’s all normal. Keep trying.
-Dating in your early twenties is a rollercoaster. People are going to come in and out of your life like a revolving door. Take the opportunity to keep learning about yourself in the process. You’ll be very single a year from now (surprise!) and this is the time to be doing you. Make life moves, buy a house, spend a weekend in the Bay Area if you want to, go to the movies and watch whatever you want whenever you want, make meals for yourself the way you like them and be selective about who you pour your energy into if it isn’t yourself. Sounds selfish? Good. Be deeply and unapologetically selfish. Now is the time.
-Go home. Drive home every weekend if you want to. Go to San Francisco on Sundays, breathe in the comfort of your old stomping grounds, get brunch at your favorite places, reconnect with friends in town for the week, get to your mom’s house in time for dinner, and don’t forget that this is why you moved. Healing and self-care takes a lot of energy, effort and time. Your well-being is worth the gas and hours of driving. You already know what makes you happy, so don’t fight it. Life’s too short for that.
It’s been a journey of a year for my own growth as a person. If I could’ve received this advice a year ago, I might have been more prepared for all the highs and lows. There’s no way to wrap this all up in a pretty bow, because I’m still figuring it all out. And even admitting that is challenging, but I guess that’s part of the process.
A year from now, we’re still figuring it all out, and that’s okay. That’s okay.