I have grown up in a constant state of change. My family moved a lot, so I was forced to adapt to a new city, school, and home every few years. Many people often express pity or apologize that I had to move around so often, but I actually enjoyed it. I got to start fresh, meet new people, and experience more of this country. Not to mention, it gave me a lot of skills that I still use in my professional and personal life.
Whenever I moved, I made friends quickly- another skill, I suppose. (Or perhaps just luck.) It helped that I was usually in school, so finding new friends was easier because I was always surrounded by people my own age. Then, when I moved to Los Angeles after graduation, I got lucky; I moved in to a co-op- an intentional community- where I shared a house with roughly twenty people. The Technicolor Tree Tribe was everything I needed after moving across the country on my own. I had built in friends that I happened to live with! And I loved each and every one of them. They quickly became my family. And once I started working, I had friends outside of my house, as well.
Flash forward to about six months ago, when I accepted a new job and moved from LA to San Diego. Suddenly, my world turned upside down. Everything I had once relied on to find friends no longer worked for me. I became friends with my roommate pretty quickly, but aside from that, I was having a tough time. I have been lucky to grow up with a handful of close friends in every city I’ve moved to. Now I felt empty. Alone. Lonely.
I realized I had never dealt with loneliness like this before. And when I started treatment, I stopped working as much; limiting my opportunities to make friends. Now that I’ve got the feeling of loneliness more or less sorted, I’m not quite sure what to do. How do adults make friends in new places? I have mad respect for my parents, who had to face this every time they moved us to a new place.
In some ways it’s nice, a fresh start. And I’ve learned who I am, and have stayed true to myself throughout all of these transitions. There was no “new city, new me” mentality…I always ended up being who I was, regardless of what a new setting meant. But now that I’m older and no longer in school, I don’t really understand how to do this.
There’s a lot of shame that I experience when I see the friends I graduated with making new friends in their respective cities. I often wonder what I’m doing wrong that I can’t seem to figure it out. And of course, challenging my perfectionism because it isn’t simply black or white.
I love San Diego. More than I thought I would. But the move was harder than I ever imagined. And the loneliness makes it that much harder. I’m very fortunate with the friends I have made in San Diego, and for the friends in LA who supported and encouraged me to pursue my dreams and take the leap down here. Life isn’t completely horrible because I’m lonely. It hurts sometimes, and not so much other times. After all, San Diego is not a bad place to be lonely…
If anyone reading this can relate, or can offer advice on how you made friends in new places, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or send me a message. 🙂