For those of you who haven’t heard me talk about my brother, Aaron, you really should ask me about him sometime. While we haven’t always gotten along (ask my parents), our friendship has turned into one of my favorites.
Aaron shares my love for adventure, all things Harry Potter, hiking, and secretly making fun of people who are wearing terrible clothes. He is truly one of the best. He has become a travel and hiking buddy, a confidante, and a true friend.
In just four days, he will be moving across the country for the first time, and I find myself at a loss as to how I should approach this. Many years ago (or at least what feels like many), I took this same step. I felt like I was totally ready for this life change, and in a lot of ways I was; but in more ways, I wasn’t. It has been a process of failing and learning, and then failing some more. I’ve been asking myself, “Should I give him the sage advice I wish someone had given me? Should I binge watch Harry Potter movies til our hearts’ content? Or should I take him shopping and help convince my parents to buy him $700 worth of winter coats, because apparently that’s what you need in Colorado?” The answer? Yes. Yes. And yes. PS- I have already done the first two… we’re still working on the coats.
So, Aaron. Here are some of the things I wish I had known, or at least listened to, before I left home.
- Listen more than you talk. This is a biggie. It’s so easy when you’re in a new place to want to fill everyone in on your life story… don’t. Remember the old adage, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This couldn’t be more true so just focus on asking as many questions as you can come up with.
- It’s okay to be scared. Moving to a new place IS scary- especially when you’re doing it by yourself and going halfway across the country. Take a breath. Relax. It gets easier.
- It’s okay to miss home. Don’t worry if you find yourself lying awake at night thinking of your old friends, old work, and all your favorite little restaurants and coffee shops. These people and places are a part of you now, and that’s a good thing. Pretty soon, you’ll feel the same way about your new home too.
- Try new things. Any time someone invites you to do something you haven’t done, just say yes. (Keep it legal.) See a food truck on the side of the road? Stop for five minutes. Heard about a band that’s playing at a venue you’ve never been? Take the night off and go. It’s very rare you’ll regret any of this.
- Don’t be afraid of meeting new people. Let’s face it- meeting people is scary. Are they going to like me? Will we like the same things? Am I going to hate them after hanging out for 5 minutes? You’ll never know if you don’t try, so give everyone a shot.
- Do things by yourself. Yes, it’s important to meet new people and spend time with them, but it’s going to be just as important you make time for yourself. Whether it’s going for a hike or grabbing a cup of coffee, you’ll need the time to process everything that’s going on. #allthefeels
- Dance alone in your apartment. This one is just fun, so do it. Besides, there’s no one there to tell you to turn down the music.
- For every drink you have, drink a glass of water. Trust me. You can thank me later.
- Take a lot of pictures. This one’s half for you, half for me. One of the biggest things I would change about my first move is not taking enough pictures of the things I did and the people I spent time with. You might be that person in your group of friends, but you’ll be glad you did. Also, I’ll be pissed if the next time I see you, you have a beard, and I didn’t know it was coming.
- Remember to call mom and dad. Again, half for you and half for me. You might not want to at first, but eventually you’ll realize they’re worth the phone call. If you don’t, I’ll have to hear about it, so save me the headache.
- Hang pictures on your wall. I know this sounds cheesy, but it’s so worth it. You’ll get to remember the people and places you’re leaving behind, and they’ll also be great conversation starters when you have people over. Segue to #12.
- Invite friends over. Even if you’re apartment isn’t “guest ready,” as mom would say. Having people over makes quiet nights at home that much better, and there’s nothing sweeter than a few drinks and good chats with friends.
- Laugh. A LOT. Don’t take it all too seriously. Remember to smile and laugh and enjoy the little things. Laugh at the bad stuff too- it makes it seem a little better.
- Write down the things you don’t want to forget. One of my favorite things is pulling out my old journal from when I first moved out and looking at the things I overcame and the ways I’ve grown. I know it feels weird at first, but you’ll get used to it. It’s the best reminder that you can keep going because you have the ability to look back and realize you already have.
- Home is a relative term. Our family is about to be spread out and all over the country, and it kind of feels like th
re’s no landing place for us. That whole “home is where the heart is” junk? I think we’re going to find out it’s true. Just want to give you a heads up.