If I had to choose one aspect of our out-of-state move that is the hardest, it would definitely be missing old friends and family. We have NONE close by. Of course, close is a relative term, but for us, we are now between 5-12 hours’ drive from any of our family and friends. I’m enjoying the summer with my kids and Mr. COD, but at times it’s been hard being so far from our loved ones.
Thankfully, we’ve seen a lot of family this summer. Being rather worn out from our move and an extra trip back to the old house to finish cleaning it up for the buyer, we nixed any thoughts of our traveling for visits. So we’re glad some relatives made the journey to us!
Friends can be more complicated than family. When you move far away, there’s the expectation that your family will just have to suck it up and make the effort to see you. With friends, it adds a new layer of difficulty. We already are all so busy, it’s hard to even see friends who live down the street. We had a couple two houses down from us that we got along GREAT with, yet rarely saw. (They’re the amazing family that took in our little Kimchi the cat after she eluded us on moving day!) Plus, Mr. COD and I have quite a few old friends that lived far away before our move, so now the distance seems insurmountable.
It’s tough to get together with friends from out-of-town or out-of-state because visits require a higher level of comfort in the relationship. Someone who lives an hour away? No biggie; we can meet for a dinner once in awhile. But someone who lives five hours away? Seeing them usually requires an overnight stay. Always harder to make that happen. (Shout-out to our friends in Indiana who actually made the trek over to see us a month after we moved in! With a five-week-old baby and a two-year-old, no less!)
I’m used to getting extra friend time in the summer, but this year, I had to squeeze in hangouts before our move. So I’ve really been missing my girlfriends lately. I find myself thinking back to when I had plenty of friends to call up to go out for coffee or meet with kids for a playdate. Why didn’t I take full advantage of my friends’ proximity?
Regrets come about as I think that I should have worried less about the state of my house, my outfit, or my kids’ behavior, and simply invited people over more. Too often, I think I held back from arranging time to hang out due to a fear of… I’m not sure? Judgment? Transparency? Whatever the reasons, I now wish I could return to a time when I knew people around me. I miss being in a place where everybody knows my name.
I miss spending time with my friends, some of whom I’ve known for fifteen years, since I began my first job out of college. One of those friends was my roommate for a couple of years, and after her wedding, we continued living in the same town. Somehow, even with our houses just a few miles apart, we managed only two or three get-togethers a year. Everybody gets so busy, and I get it, but it’s sad. What a waste!
It’s also difficult because I’m not working anywhere full-time. I appreciate the fact that we remained in IL for my first year of SAHMing, because I still got to see many of my friends and former co-workers on occasion. They were too rare, true, but the meals and margaritas shared last year helped to ease the transition for sure.
Moving to a new town and state is extra weird for me without a place of work. So much of our social lives are formed around our work–it seems people we meet at work are generally the people we spend our free time with. Of course there are other means of being social, and we’re working on that (getting involved in a local church is one of our big goals). But still, I must admit I’m a tad envious of Mr. COD as he begins his teaching career (today!) and will be meeting a ton of people through that. Hence, I’ve experienced longings to apply for a waitressing job someplace local (although I fear if I worked at Apollo Pizza, I’d soon learn to dislike their food, and what a bummer that would be!).
I knew what I was getting into when I said “yes” to this move, and that making friends and feeling at home here would take significant time and effort. But it is becoming very real now. It’s not easy! I have no problem chatting with other moms at the playground, but it always ends at basic pleasantries. How does one progress from the surface topics like “how old are your kids?” and “phew, it’s hot today” to actual friendship? The whole thing is as awkward as the dating world, and I wonder how to attempt a friendship without appearing creepy…
So you can likely understand why I was so eager to attend my Trades of Hope conference a week or so ago. Even though I only knew one person there, I knew everyone there would be open to building new friendships. I knew everyone there would be like-minded, with a passion for helping to alleviate poverty and fight against exploitation of women. This business is already providing a sense of community for me, and I’m glad I found it.
Another friendship-building strategy I’m trying is seeking out as many local organizations as I can. I’m part of two writers’ groups, which will benefit my writing and freelancing career as well as social life. Once new church small groups start up this fall, I hope to be involved in one of them. Plus, there’s a running club that meets weekly (I haven’t gone to that yet).
Otherwise, I guess I’ll be going way out of my comfort zone and talking to people I meet, wherever I go! We also plan on hosting a little open house/housewarming shindig and inviting everyone in our neighborhood. (Maybe people will all flock to our door just out of curiosity about what we’ve done with the house so far! Sorry, folks, it’s not much.)
Given that both Mr. COD and I are fairly introverted by nature, it’s unrealistic to expect to feel totally comfortable with many people in Kentucky right away. We are committed to really LIVING here, though, rather than just biding our time, waiting for something better to come along. In many ways, we shielded ourselves from true community back in Illinois, and we don’t want to make that mistake again. So it’ll be a long journey of getting to know people around us.
Everyone we’ve met in Kentucky thus far has treated us kindly, so we’re not concerned about that aspect. We just need to be open to the process of making friends and moving to truly knowing others. Loneliness will still exist, and missing our old friends won’t go away. In the meantime, old friends, don’t be surprised if I text or message you more often than before! We’re also super excited that some of our friends from Milwaukee will be coming our way this weekend! Woot woot!
Any suggestions for us as we navigate the process of missing friends and making friends?