What do you do when you feel homesick, disconnected, far away?
Really, I want to know. Because I don’t have any good answers today.
I figure I can embrace it (#lovewhereyoulive), distract myself and push it away or wallow in it. I briefly think of calling friends from home, but this is just public wallowing. I’m a little tired of trying to embrace South Florida (because it feels like I’ve tried and tried and tried). I realize that feeling ‘home’ doesn’t develop overnight, but today I’m over it.
[I’m going to warn you right here that this entry doesn’t come to any conclusion about what the answer is.]
So in my wallow-ness, looking for some sympathy, I google “living in wrong place”:
Laura Donovan writes about her realization that NYC was not the place for her: “I realized then that NYC had turned me into the absolute worst version of myself”, she writes. Donovan writes that you know you’re living in the wrong place if:
- You’re always dressed wrong
- You hate the weather
- You always want to get out
- Everything angers or upsets you
- You blame all of your problems on the city
- You don’t fit in with the culture
- It doesn’t offer your favorite food
- You hate the transportation situation
- The benefits don’t outweigh the downsides
- You’re always wondering what the heck you’re doing with your life
OUCH. Thanks for the gut punch. The lines about hating the weather made me laugh because this has been my complaint from day 1 – we moved into our apartment on a 95* day in August, and because S (a wildlife biologist) works outside in said heat and I work in an air-conditioned building, I have nothing to complain about.
But the cultural aspects have been so, so difficult for this Midwesterner to adjust to.. “Some thrive in cities like NYC, but I was a mess there”, says Donovan. She’s right on point here – sometimes I think the no-rest, party-hard, in-your-face, focus-on-glitz-and-glam culture in South Florida is slowly driving me crazy. What’s been particularly hard is realizing that some people really love this city – my work colleagues, many who are natives, love this culture – they seem energized by it, excited to be a part of it. And I just don’t get it..
Grace Edwards writes that “living in the wrong city for your lifestyle and personality can steal your peace, negativity effect your career mobility, social options and finances”.
She says you know you need a new city when:
- You need a different pace
- The weather is killing you
- Local activities bore the hell out of you
- Your career can’t thrive where you are
- The people suck
- The housing prices are astronomical
- You can’t stand the commute
- You’ve always wanted to move but are too scared
One thing I’m proud to report is that I don’t feel afraid to move again – we moved once, across the country, away from everyone we knew, and it didn’t work out. And we survived. This outcome, while less than I had hoped for, at least makes me feel resilient.
But I often feel that the people suck.. and that’s a shitty realization. It’s not that I feel the people here are less or that the people from where I’m from are better, it’s just that I often feel that the people here are choosing to be rude or inconsiderate or selfish, and so it’s hard to have unconditional positive regard for the people I’m surrounded by, as experience has shown me otherwise.
Emma Lord reflects that sometimes a change means moving to a new city, state or timezone, but sometimes a change just means moving to a different area of the same place. She says that “you know yourself well enough to know when you are in the right place, and when it might be time to consider a major change”
Lord’s list of “signs it’s time to move on” are:
- You get major FOMO living where you live now
- You went on a trip and were sad to leave
- There are too many bad memories attached to where you live
- You are constantly asking your friends who moved away what it’s like
- You are hesitant to make long term commitments where you live now
- You’ve talked about moving before
- You have major road rage where you live now
- Your career goals would be better served elsewhere
- You want to be closer to your family
- Or, you want to move further away from your family
- You don’t agree with the points of view for your state
- You are too hot/cold or can’t take the weather anymore
- You just need a change
Oh man, I totally have FOMO. I have been brought to tears at the thought of missing my friends getting engaged, have babies, and move on with their lives – because I imagined doing all those things with them – I expected to be there for all of it. And then I expected to still be a part of it even though I wasn’t physically there. Don’t get me wrong, I send the new mommies and babies all kinds of obnoxious gifts and visit when I can, but it’s just different. And here’s the kicker – I also have fear of them missing out on my life.
I love that Lord brings up that it can be exhausting to consistently feel like you’re fighting when it comes to culture or opinions of a city – “although I’m all for sticking around and fighting the good fight where it most needs fighting, it can be too upsetting to live in a place where people have drastically different views than you, or where you’re surrounded by mindsets and moral codes that feel unshakably problematic to you”. PREACH, girl! I have been feeling this a lot lately – like I can’t beat ’em, but I can’t join ’em either because it’s against my moral code.
I can identify with a lot (okay, most) of the thoughts the authors have listed as reasons to consider another city.. which is a little distressing, as S and I had planned to stay in our current city for a few years.
Still, Lord’s reflection that “Change is not as far out of reach as it can sometimes feel” brought me a little bit of comfort.