Finding the silver lining in moving to a new neighborhood
There are a lot of articles out there helping college students survive their first week of school. Great for them but that is a very niche market. You only enter college once, and each return to college is more routine and not as scary. These lists and articles are also generally geared towards brand new baby adults. With advice like, Embrace Your Independence and Put Batteries in the Smoke Detector. You’d like to have a takeaway from that but you’re already independent. You know what it means to wake up on time every morning for work simply because that’s how life goes. So what about for the rest of us? I’m going to give you some things to think about in your first days and weeks in your new neighborhood. This is coming from a single, “young professional’s” point of view so I apologize if my insights into family and couple life are shortsighted.
Whether you have moved a thousand times or this is your first, these are things to think about when adjusting to a new neighborhood. A lot of the tips below are about finding space outside of your home to call home, a place you feel comfortable and know you’ll get exactly what you need – caffeine or a cozy corner to get out of the house. But they’re really about practicing self-care. Are you taking care of yourself in this transition? Maybe you don’t have time or funds right now to get a massage but certainly you can treat yourself with a bike ride to your new favorite pizza joint for a slice.
Mail / address checklist – Are you aware of a wedding invite that is supposed to be coming your way soon? Make sure your updated address gets out to more than just the electric bill and your car insurance. Since you were smart to forward your mail through the post office, you’ll receive those pieces in the next few weeks but make sure anything that gets forwarded receives an updated address from you.
Coffee – Coffee is important. I don’t even drink coffee and I recognize its importance to making the world go round. I love exploring coffee shops for more than their caffeinated beverages. They have great atmospheres. Where do you think all of the artistic talent met in Paris? Finding your new coffee shop is fun. You can meet people or find the perfect place to read a book.
Market – Finding your market can be tricky. Make sure you are not judging the market on the first appearance. I have the luxury of being located minutes from a biweekly farmers market. This supplies me with as much seasonal produce as I can carry and really great egg, cheese and meat options. But for simple items like rice, pasta or flour, I have to make a three mile drive to the closest grocery store. Initially I hated the grocery store but I grew to love it once I discovered the best times of day to go in.
Bar – So unlike any other place in the world, the neighborhood bar has consistently been the place I have met more new friends than anywhere else. Mine is an old house converted to a craft brew alehouse. It has a beautiful porch and a tiny bar to cozy up to with a book in the corner on an evening I’m not ready to go home. This is like the coffee shop except it’s a place you won’t dash in to buy a scone. Atmosphere is important here. Do the patrons and employees make you feel welcome? You’ll know you’ve chosen the right place when you show up alone or with a group and always leave with contact information for a new friend. Don’t give up on this if it’s not immediately apparent. I personally have chosen a place with a patio and lots of windows instead of the sad place a block away that’s like walking into a cave and makes me feel sad.
Transportation – This is a broad one. Do you commute in from work? Check google maps the week before your first trip to the office from your new home. Try checking it at the time you would be traveling to get a good understanding of the traffic flow at that time of day. Give yourself some extra time to get there in case you get turned around or run into unexpected traffic. Transportation also includes finding the best tree-lined bike routes. Or how to use the lightrail or subway from your current location. Do you know the best way to get the kids to school?
Meeting new people – So this can be a daunting one but it’s something I have really come to enjoy. Getting out of the house to say hello to a neighbor for a few minutes and share some harmless gossip is a great change of pace for a moment. Stepping into your neighborhood bistro and having the employees know your name. It’s comforting. So you might have left the neighborhood with the best biscuits and gravy you’ve ever had but that doesn’t mean the best is behind you. Take some time to get to know the immediate people in your neighborhood. They’ll be faster in the morning than AAA if you need your car jump started and a blessing for a missing egg or cup of sugar. They’ll also be great for recommending the best chai nearby.
Pizza – Because who doesn’t love pizza? And when doesn’t pizza help anything? Had a rough day at work only to come home and realize there is still more kitchen dish boxes to be unpacked? Pizza will make you feel better.
So start unpacking those boxes and take some breaks to make your new neighborhood home.