I made a big move four years ago. I moved from Ottawa, Ontario to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, so that my husband could take on a new amazing new challenge. The decision to move was a no-brainer. The challenge of such a major change was greater than the fear of the “what ifs.”
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because someone said to me that I wasn’t acting like I was upset enough (like there is some sort of emotional scale to respond to change) that I left my hometown, friends and family. In the past three years I’ve had many people come up to me and think that I should be breaking down in tears, or falling apart. But I just don’t feel that way. It’s not that I’m insensitive, just the opposite actually, my husband says that I’m too sensitive. But I’m really strong in my beliefs that once I make a choice, I stand by the choice and I make the absolute best of it. And if it turns out to be the wrong choice, I can make a new choice. That is the great thing about life – we have choices!
I miss my friends and family, but that doesn’t mean I also can’t love the new friends that I’ve made and will continue to make here. Instead of being depressed about being so far away from my Ontario loved ones, I feel blessed that I now have these amazing new friends in Saskatoon, plus my fabulous friends in Ontario. How lucky am I? How can I possibly complain about that? Whether I’m here or back in my hometown, I am surrounded by friendship. My moving doesn’t mean the friendship is over. If that is the case, they weren’t great friends to begin with. We may not get to speak every week, or even every month, but they are always in my heart and mind.
What about your family? Don’t you miss your family? I get this question all the time. The answer is, YES! I love my family. I miss Sunday dinners, I miss slumber parties with my nieces, and I miss just being able to pop by whenever I want. But I love going home to visit and having a weeks worth of news to catch up on. I love that quantity time has turned into quality time. I love that my family has a new place in the world to visit, and they actually love visiting us here. So you see, I can miss my family and still be happy with my life here.
I focus on looking ahead and think about all of the positive things that I can learn and experience from this change. It doesn’t mean I never look back, but my number one goal is to look forward and experience everything I can during this time. Years from now, I will look back at this time in my life and be so grateful for the people I’ve met and for the opportunities that I have experienced.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
You can have a really fabulous life where you are right now. Here is the kicker though – you have to want it and you have to work for it. It is not up to someone else to make you happy. You have to make the choice to let happiness in.
Here are my personal top 5 ways that can help you to relocate with peace in your heart and in your mind.
1. You can be sad and happy at the same time. If you have moments where you feel sad that you are so far away, don’t let those emotions keep you from being happy with all of the amazing things that you have to be grateful for. So often we let one thing that we are upset about have a domino affect on all the other areas in our life.
“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”
2. If you miss your friends and family, just miss them. Who says you have to shut your feelings off? You can still miss them and be happy. Tip #3 below will help you with your emotions and stay connected.
“Negativity comes from not being willing to accept change. Positivity comes from being willing to enjoy change and adapt to it.”
3. You have to make more of an effort to stay involved. With Facebook, Skype, Email, and all the other social media tools available, staying connected is much easier than it has ever been. But you have to make the effort. Plan and schedule phone dates, send email updates, send happy mail, or even photo shares. Staying involved in each others lives doesn’t have to be limited to face-to-face time. Get creative.
4. You have to stand by your choice. If you can’t find happiness, you need to think about whether or not this choice was the right one. If it isn’t, it’s okay to make the choice to go back home if that is what you truly want. Don’t think of it as failing. You made a brave choice to try it out and if the lesson you take from it is that you want to be close to your friends and family, and realize that is a strong desire and value of yours, that is amazing. At least you will never say, “what if?”
“The only things we have control over are the choices we make, our attitude and our responses. We can only control ourselves.”
5. Don’t miss out on the friendships that are right in front of you because you can’t stop living in the past of your hometown friendships. Like I said, they are still your friends, but now you have this amazing blessing and opportunity to make new friends.
Making new friends can be challenging, but it is possible. You can join a local networking group, start a book club, get to know the women where you work, or where your husband works, join group fitness clubs, like yoga, or a running group. The most important thing you can do is to just put yourself out there. Friendships take time to evolve, so be patient.
“To positively enhance any area in your life, you have to be willing to put the time and effort into what you want to have happen.”
I want to leave you with a powerful question that always helps me. Things have changed, so what are you going to do about and what is the story you want to create?
“No matter what you do, or where you go, follow your heart. Your heart will never lie to you.”
Sending you oodles of positivity, happiness & joy,
Laurie-ann Sheldrick, The Contagiously Positive Girl