One of the most inspiring people in my life, Coby Kozlowski, introduced me to the term Living Sadhana. In its simplest terms, it's a daily spiritual practice to establish good habits. Coby had encouraged me to commit to some kind of routine for at least 40 days at a time. I’ve tried out a few routines, including dancing to a few songs every morning and throwing on some glitter before I left the house each day. But when I relocated to California 2 months ago I wanted a Living Sadhana that would help me adjust to the complex experience of living in a new city. So, I decided to write about it every day. This is what I learned:
1. You don’t need a lot of stuff
I lived in my friend’s closet for the first 3 weeks. Yes, a closet. I drove out to California with whatever I could fit in my car, so it didn’t feel like I had a lot to begin with. However, after a few days of closet living, I felt like I actually packed more than I needed. I got by—quite comfortably—with an air mattress, my favorite pillow and blanket, 6-7 good outfits, a yoga mat, hygiene necessities, a rice cooker, and hiking shoes.
2. If you want to be a part of something, just ask
This was another tip from Coby, and it came in handy within the first few days of the move. I heard that two of my favorite comedians would be doing a live show in my new city right around my birthday. Booking it sounded like a no-brainer, right? The issue was that I was terrified of going alone (see #5). I mustered up some courage and bought the ticket, then immediately jumped onto the Facebook event page to RSVP. There I saw a long list of fellow show-goers, and I wondered how weird it would be to ask if anyone else was flying solo and wanted to buddy up. Turns out it's not weird at all and now I’ve got a solid crew to roll with in a few weeks.
3. Choose your tribe wisely
It’s OK to ask to be a part of something, and it's also OK to express that you do NOT want to be a part of something... or someone’s company. Being alone in a new city put some pressure on me to make new friends. A seemingly normal guy casually approached me at a nude beach during my first week. We struck up a harmless conversation about sunscreen, and my immediate thought was to befriend him. After a few minutes and a handful of awkward comments, my intuition was telling me that I didn’t want this guy in my tribe. So I left. Thankfully my wit took over and I realized that it is quite alright to…
4. Take your time
With making friends, finding an apartment, and everything in between. The city isn’t going anywhere, so there is really no rush in working through that to-do list. In 60 days I wrote “take your time, don’t rush” probably about 30 times. Do your research and trust your gut!
5. Embrace the alone time
Taking my time with things forced me to be alone a lot. Rather than waiting to make friends to go on hikes with, I decided to go on hikes with my damn self! No, it's not weird to go to the bar, the movies, or the museum by yourself. In fact, sometimes when I go somewhere alone I end up making a friend (excluding suncreen nude beach guy). And if you really can’t fathom the idea of doing something alone, check out MeetUps.
This is key for anyone who is moving to a new city and winging it. I started budgeting about 6 months before my move… and I still need to budget, and re-budget, each month to keep myself financially aware. I’ve gotten so tedious with my finances that I know my daily spending limits. It can be time-consuming, but its absolutely necessary if I want to have peace of mind while living off my savings. I’ve suggested this site before, and I’ll suggest it again: www.mint.com has saved my financial ass!
7. “Hold on to the triumphs”
I read this in a friend’s article about establishing a career path. I had everything going for me career-wise at home, and then I decided to pull the rug out from underneath myself by moving across the country. I started getting down on myself about the money I used to make and the recognition I used to have. Then I read this, “Don’t hold onto that one big job you had or that higher salary you acquired for a previous position. You’ll have an epic journey regardless, just keep conquering your own expectations and find optimism for what awaits you!”
8. Have your own experiences
I’m big on advice seeking. I asked as many people as many questions as possible about moving out West. I got valuable information about the cost of living, the job market, traffic, the dating scene, etc. However, there is nothing like experiencing it for yourself. One person told me that my car insurance would skyrocket in California. Turns out my insurance went down. Another told me that the area I’m considering moving to is wayyyyy out of my budget… turns out it's not. Get out there and find out for yourself.
9. New life, who dis?
Life, before I moved, was busy. I got 6 hours of sleep on a good night. I usually spent anywhere from 10-14 hours out of my home at a time. I would rush through my morning meditation and complain over practicing yoga. Each day I told myself I would hike or bike or take some time to read a book or go to the farmer’s market… but I never would. I would have to book family time weeks in advance because my schedule was unbelievably spontaneous. Once I moved I had an empty calendar and saw that as an opportunity to start a new life with a new, reasonable schedule and healthy habits. I had been gifted a planner, and I use it to literally remind myself to get enough sleep, get outside, and put my family first. I highly reccomend!
10. Hosting is exhausting
I was stoked when my best friend planned to visit me within my first month of moving, and I was exhausted after she left. Prepare wisely for having guests. If you want to show them a good time, make sure you’ve got enough time and money put aside for doing so.
11. It's OK to cry
I had my first good cry about 5 weeks in. I was at the bar, alone, getting ready to watch the NY Giants game. I was previously a season ticket holder and rarely missed a home game. Now I was 3,000 miles away watching footage of my home stadium. Then to top it off, I got a text from mom and dad: “Happy home opener, wish you were here.” *Cue the tears*. I tried to hide it for a few minutes, but then just allowed myself to cry in public. I was sad. I missed home. And everything about that was OK. Someone at the bar noticed me and took a seat next to me. I told him what the deal was. He missed home too and reassured me it would get easier. He bought me a beer and we watched the game together.
12. Life goes on with or without you
One of the most challenging things was realizing that my communities will thrive without me. Yes, I know its incredibly egotistical to think that they wouldn't… it was a hard, but good lesson to learn! They will have holidays without you. Your friends will go out without you. Your job will hire a replacement. Know that you are still loved and certainly missed, but people will keep on keepin on! Try to find the good in seeing your loved ones make due without you. And when you find that good, share it with all the new people in your life.
13. Que Sera, Sera
“Whatever will be, will be. The future is not ours to see.” Enjoy the time of transition, waiting and not knowing. Stay present, trust the wait. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible. Do whatever is necessary and the rest will fall into place. Everything will work out fine if you let it.
14. Have Fun!
Some people will live in the same place for their entire lives. Find gratitude in the opportunity to relocate, and enjoy the hell out of it!!!