As many of you know by now, Dan and I moved from San Diego to Denver in October of 2019, which means that this month marks 3 years here. And it’s really weird to think about how that’s well over the time I spent living in SD, yet, so much happened there. I got my first job out of college, made new friends, bought a new car, completed a Master’s degree, got married. Dad passed. All during that time.
And I can look back on all of that now with perspective and think, “Wow, what a ride.” Something I haven’t been able to do with Denver quite yet, but I can feel it coming. That moment when you take a better look at all that is around you, take stock in all the things that brought you there, and you simply can’t believe it. That all those moments of happiness, doubt, fear, excitement, all brought you to this moment right here.
And that “here” for me right now is living in Denver with my husband Dan and our fur babies Moo, Remi, Sloane and Mustard. I’ve switched career paths to become a wedding planner and started this blog. Dan is working and going to school full time, he’ll be graduating next winter. We have a home that’s ours, a neighborhood we feel belonging in, and a community we love. But it didn’t all happen right away. It’s just now, after 3 years of building our life here, that we feel this way.
And after our housewarming party this past Friday, we feel it more than ever. That we’ve got a place and a purpose here, and good people around us. And that feeling is priceless. So I understand if you’ve recently moved to a new city and it feels anything but what I’ve just described. Trust me, it’s how we felt at first too, and this is only the beginning of this place really feeling like home. It takes time and intention to start over somewhere new, but if you can stick with it, it is so, SO worth it. Here’s my tips for building a life in a new city:
Take in all that’s around you
When we first moved to Denver I had an idea of what it’d be like, and, though it did end up true in some ways, it didn’t in others. But instead of focusing on all the things I didn’t love, like all the construction and traffic, I paid my attention to all the things that I did. I went on daily walks and looked around at every tree, the lake, the mountains in the distance. THE SUNSETS. My god those are beautiful over the mountains.
I looked around each day, at my home and everything around it, as if I were seeing it for the first time, because in many instances, I was. And it gave me a whole new appreciation for my surroundings and the fact that we lived here. Even now still, I look around this house at the end of each night before turning off the lights, I still peak out my window at our street lined with sidewalks and trees shedding their auburn and yellow leaves, at the mountains off in the distance, capped in snow, reminding me how small I am in the best way possible, and I am in awe of this beautiful place we get to call home.
Be open to connections everywhere and anywhere
When we first moved here we knew about 3 people total, which is more than many can say when they’ve moved somewhere new. Sometimes you’re starting from complete scratch, and that’s okay. This experience will teach you how to make connections whenever they appear. Whether that be through mutual friends, or the grocery store, it’ll be a great adventure and opportunity for new friendship.
About a year ago, I made a new friend while shopping for boots at Nordstrom (so random, I know lol). I was trying on a pair, and this girl came up to me and asked what brand they were. She ended up trying them on too, we got to talking, and, before she left, I asked for her number. Since then, we’ve gotten dinner here and there and she was a guest at our housewarming. She’s a wonderful friend that I’m so happy to know, and, had I not been open to making that connection when the opportunity arose, I would have completely missed out on a wonderful friendship. And this leads me to my next point…
Make the first move
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Making friends as an adult is hard, especially when you don’t have a friend in your area who can introduce you to others, or a job that requires you to go to an office and spend hours on end with coworkers. That’s why you’ve gotta invest time and energy into it elsewhere. When a moment of real connection presents itself, don’t let it slip away. Get their information, ask them to get together. Further that connection.
Worst case scenario, they say no, but that has nothing to do with you- they don’t know you so how could that be possible? And remember, we are our own toughest critics, so people probably like you more than you think they do. Keep these things in mind and it’ll make the process a little less scary.
Becoming a wedding planner gave me the complete opposite experience of my first job living in Colorado. With that job, I was lucky enough to go remote with the same company I’d worked for in SD, and I worked from home and travelled to campuses here and there for about a year. And, as grateful as I was for this opportunity, the situation never allowed me to fully immerse myself in our new city. I kind of felt like I had one foot in, and the other out the door. Like a part of me was stuck in the past.
So, when I quit that job, I knew I wanted something that would get me aquatinted with the place I now lived, and wedding planning delivered that tenfold. I’ve gotten to see places downtown, in the mountains, and all over the state, that I may never have known existed otherwise. It’s one of my favorite parts about this job (aside from the incredible people I get to call friends and coworkers!).
And, if you’re not able to make exploring a part of your career path, my advice is to still prioritize it. Do some research, see what’s out there, and go! You never know what you’ll find, who you’ll meet, and where it will take you. It’s the perfect way to get out of the bubble of your own mind, and experience the beautiful place that’s right at your fingertips.
I’ve built a life in three different cities, and I’ve come to find that these tips are what make it work. To building a life you feel truly content in and connected to. I know it’s scary to start over, but props to you for taking the leap anyway. It says a lot about the kind of person you are, that you’d be willing to pick up and leave in the quest for new experiences. That attraction to novelty means you’re also the kind of person who will fare well in the pursuit of building your new life. Making new friends, finding new passions, discovering new favorite places. All of these things take time, but you’re in it- you’re making it happen. I wish you all the best on this venture of yours. This world is lucky to have you, no matter the city you’re in, and you’ll feel at home in no-time.
Have you moved away from where you grew up? What tips do you have for building a life in a new city? Share your experiences in the comments!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: My Love/Hate Relationship With Moving