Moving Away Isn't As Magical As The Internet Promised

August 31, 2015

Time for some real talk:

For years I dreamt of leaving Oregon. In fact, I never wanted to go back to Oregon when I did (more on that another time). I daydreamed about different cities I could move to (LA, NYC, Boston, DC, abroad) and the programs I could enter (humanitarian work, grad school, traveling and working odd jobs, the "dream" job). I saw people post on social media about glamorous wanderlust dreams.

It's so simple, right? Just pack up your bags, get in a car/plane/train/boat/mule/carrier pigeon, and go explore! So romantic and magical!

Of course, I had moments of fear. Where would I buy furniture? Could I even afford furniture? Do I move without a job? What if I never get a good job and it's a dead end? So I hid for 5 years, throwing myself into my work, social life, and church in Oregon. But I dreamt of getting out almost daily. I was jealous of friends who could seemingly so easily pick up and move for school or work. What did they have that I didn't? Did God care more about their futures than mine?

Fast forward to 2015. I've gathered up my courage, prayed often, talked to 91340235825 different people for help, and I've finally moved to Utah so the man I love can go to school and we can be together. I've had miracles occur concerning jobs (another post later) and I have an apartment. 

But it's not magical. Or glamorous. It looks nothing like Tumblr or Pinterest or Instagram told me it would be! What the heck?

I don't want to bore you with a list of all of the hard things I've experienced, I don't want this to be a ranting post. But it's been a struggle. I didn't have the beautiful apartment I had seen in pictures. I wasn't instant bffs with my roommates. I was terrified to even leave my room and make them mad and would stay in there for 10 hours at a time. I've been physically ill most days: constant nausea, stomach pains in the middle of the night, vomiting, dehydration, migraines. I have almost no social life and no purpose each day. I've almost been in no less than 5 car accidents. I wasn't constantly adventuring or interacting with amazing and interesting people. The most important people in my life are 1000 miles away and I miss them terribly.

Each day I questioned whether or not I made the right decision to move here. Everyone said yes. My fears said no. The first night here, I holed up in my hotel with a 2 liter of Diet Dr. Pepper and some Ben & Jerry's for comfort. After I dropped my mom off at the airport, I didn't want to leave the hotel--couldn't I just be on vacation forever?

I counseled with the friends who I long envied for moving away. Unanimously they shared "Yeah, moving away was terrible for the first 2 months. Then it got better. It was such a tough adjustment. You're going to hate it at first, but you'll love it after awhile."

No one tells you that at first. You just see pictures of fun adventures and new places, without any context behind it. Everyone is struggling to only show a perfect version of their lives. I'm not writing to be a Negative Nancy at all. I'm just sharing the reality of the situation. Rarely do you escape to a new place and have everything (or even most things) be glamorous or perfect or better than what you left. It's a hard adjustment.

I don't want to sound ungrateful either. I start my job tomorrow--a job I NEVER thought I could get. I am so grateful for that. The opportunity has blown my mind. I live a 5 minute drive from one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I've ever been. I can go there, recharge, and gain perspective as often as I need to.
Salt Lake City LDS Temple at sunset
Snapped this gem the other night.

Unfortunately, I didn't respond to this new transition perfectly. Or even close to perfectly. I let my fears and past experiences get the better of me. I let depression and anxiety overwhelm me and felt very hopeless. I acted impulsively and out of fear. I hurt the people who I love the most. I didn't reach out for help or go to those peaceful places during those weak moments. I let Satan (or insert whatever bad mojo you believe in here) deceive me into thinking the initial struggle would last forever. 

He is wrong. I was so wrong. In the last two days, I have been transformed. I am slowly gaining the courage to leave my room and interact with scary roommates. I went to my new ward on Sunday. I have filled my extra time during funemployment (yep, it's a word) with great friends that I didn't previously feel like I could lean on. Today, I spontaneously walked the 1.5 miles to Temple Square, met amazing missionaries, started a new scripture study project, and spent 7 hours there. I felt the presence and peace of God stronger than I have recently. The dust of moving is finally starting to settle.
Today's lunch: Delicious sandwich, chocolate-coconut cookie, Diet Coke, scriptures, and an insane view.

I'm still getting used to this new home. I probably will still Netflix a lot and not spend every moment being glamorous in this new town. There might be some big scary things coming soon that will shake up my world, but I have gained a greater trust in God. For those who diligently follow and seek Him, He will tell you what to do and it will be for your benefit. If there has been any purpose in this struggle, it has been to shed light on my weaknesses, and allow me to rely on the Lord and the Atonement in a way that I haven't yet been asked to do. He has pushed me WAY outside my comfort zone and, in doing so, has refined me further to be a better servant to those around me. 

"...I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27)

"No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience, will be wasted." Orson F. Whitney

"...let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance..." (D&C 123:17)

So when you pick up and move away, know that things might be hard. The internet and social media won't tell you the whole story. It won't be perfect and you might struggle. But that's ok! You're in good company. Lean on your friends. Heck, come talk to me! But know, that things will get better. Maybe not right away, but they will. I've already seen that happen for me. Keep going forward and don't let your fears get the best of you.

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6 thoughts

  1. I am so very proud of your courage, honesty and insight, honey. Love you, too!

  2. Rachel Burton8/31/2015 11:57 PM

    That's awesome you got a job!! I'm glad you have found some places that feel like your own now! You're an awesome writer :) Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    1. Aw thank you! I feel like a terrible writer, but I'm trying to get better!

  3. somewhere beautiful to go - pick one of the canyons - millcreek, big cottonwood or little cottonwood and just drive. Those are my favorite places in SLC area.