I’ve gone from living down the hall from my parents and with some of the best friends in college to relying on unreliable flights for a weekend visits between busy schedules.
Being over 1,000 miles from family and friends has become part of my life for the past year and a half. For many people, there comes a time in life when you have to love certain people from a distance. Whether it be for days or months at a time, it’s that physical distance that keeps you from seeing one another.
And let me tell you, it isn’t easy at times.
Moving halfway across the country has been one of the best experiences for being on my own (plus my boyfriend and cat), but it has also taken a toll on me and my other relationships.
In the really tough moments, I keep reminding myself that that’s life. It throws you a curve that you weren’t expecting. And even though it’s hard, somehow at the same time has made your life better for many other reasons.
You just have to take the good with the bad and roll with the punches.
The beauty of technology has really helped me with feeling left out. Truthfully, keeping in touch is the most important element in maintaining relationships, while still living your own life, wherever you may be.
How To Deal When You Live Far Away From Friends & Family
Here are 5 things to focus on instead to make it a little bit more bearable:
1. Kill It at Your Job
Focusing on my job and career rather than worrying about what is going on over 1,000 miles away has really helped. Obviously I still like to feel connected to my family back home, but ultimately that can’t be my day-to-day focus.
Not having the pressure to keep up relationship around everyone else’s schedule allows me to put most of my energy into my career. I have a job that excites me, and that helps too. It’s easier to focus when you really enjoy what you’re doing.
I’m able to take on extra work, learn more about my field, and spend time networking. Because it’s still early in my career, these activities are crucial.
Tips for leaning into your career:
2. Embrace Living On Your Own
Even though I’m technically living with my boyfriend our cat, Tilly, it was tough at first. There are so many things to get used to living in your own space for the first time.
Spend time making it your own! Decorate how you want to. Take your time finding the perfect piece to complete your bar cart. Get really creative on Pinterest and make your home the most restful retreat possible.
3. Find New Companionship (AKA the Perfect Reason to Get a Pet!)
Although we have one another, picking our cat up at the Humane Society was such a joy. Having an animal that requires low maintenance in a small apartment is perfect because there’s always some here to “hang out” with. Tilly never makes you feel like you’re alone, and she loves to cuddle!
Having a pet is also a great sense of responsibility. I feel more grounded because I have someone else to take care of.
4. Start New Relationships
Moving far away from friends and family was tough, but making new friends was bit harder. Because I work in a team-building environment, that was the first step for me to start building new relationships. Now that we’re friends with another couple our age, it makes weekends more exciting and fun; especially when it involves games!
Meeting people in a new place seems intimidating at first, but it’s not so bad. Look for people in places that you’re naturally drawn to — that’s where you will find your tribe.
Here’s more reading for meeting new people in a new place: New Town, New Life: Making Friends Without College, Making Friends in Your Twenties
5. Explore Your Surroundings
One of the best things about moving far away was exploring a new city and the states that surround it. We’ve traveled to different towns for various country concerts such as Kenny Chesney, Fleetwood Mac, Luke Bryan, and more.
Another great thing about a new city is trying out the food! We’ve found a great sushi spot that sits across from the city and has a beautiful view at night time. Having the option to create new memories within a new city is always a plus! It’s kind of like you’re on vacation all the time.
Living far away from family and friends takes a little of getting used to, especially when everyone back home lives so close or with each other (like my three best friends in NYC).
Although I’ve had great success with these coping methods, there have been a couple methods that haven’t panned out so well.
For example, when trying to plan a trip home or to see my friends, it was always never at the “right time.” Everyone was busy and it was hard to coordinate schedules. Plus, with layovers, a “weekend” back in my home town is really like 24 hours, if I’m lucky. In other words, it’s not always worth the time and expense.
There’s no doubt that moving away from the people and place you’ve known your whole life is hard. It might even be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. But in realty, it’s really a great time to focus on yourself and build a strong foundation for your career, interests, and the rest of your life.