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The Emotional Stages of Moving Interstate

How I'm managing the change from my hometown to a regional city

By JaimiePublished about a year ago 6 min read
The Emotional Stages of Moving Interstate
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Moving south to a regional area has been a goal of mine for years. My hometown isn't a big city, and it's not near a big city, but living in a big city was never the goal. The goal was to move away to somewhere like my home town that was also just not my hometown.

Quite frankly, the only way that I can explain it is that I just wanted a place to call mine. One that no one else had really conquered yet. Not that I knew that that was what I was really after at the time.

The First Emotional Stage of Moving Interstate: How Do I Do This?

This year was definitely the year. I had spent two years during COVID lockdowns and closed state borders procrastinating on my future. I had tried everything I wanted to try (anything that I could between and around the endless COVID regulations) and found it all lacking. I volunteered, I worked a different job, and I tried my hand at hobbies I'd never given a second thought to. But none of it brought the hit of freshness that I was looking for.

So, instead of continuing the bleak unending procrastination that I had subjected myself to, I started looking for a job. It should be noted that at this point, I needed a kick up the butt. I had been deep into procrastination and excuse-making for years, I was an expert. Whether it was COVID or borders or family that needed me, money, anything, I had the excuse to put the move that I wanted to make off for even longer.

However, the career that I had studied for for 4 years of my life was closing some big opportunities for me. It was take the leap now and work a job I wasn't sure about or lose the opportunity to work in the career I had studied for for so long altogether.

At one point during the job search, one of my close friends asked me if it would be better to move first and then look for a job. After all, they reasoned, I had savings. A lot of savings, thanks to all the procrastination. The thing was that I hate spending money and in my mind the only thing I could do was move once I finally had a job.

The suggestion of moving suddenly and spending all that money and having nothing to fall back on was honestly terrifying to me. But the suggestion inadvertently spurned me on a job applying spree, which included the job I finally landed.

If there was one word to sum up my emotions during this stage, it would be "helpless". Other words that come to mind include: "flailing" and

The Second Emotional Stage of Moving Interstate: I Got the Job!

Thankfully, the job applications paid off. I got the job! Not my dream job, but pretty damn close.

My partner, who was unemployed at the time I was applying for the jobs, was the first to know. I was waving and jumping up and down with him while on the phone with the recruiter. The hardest part about that phone call was keeping the excitement out of my voice as I excitedly mimed to my partner what was happening.

Once off the phone I broke down in tears and my partner cheered me up again by jumping and squealing - mostly ironically because of how I'd been acting whilst I was on the phone. The next thing was a series of excited phone calls, even as I made my way back in to work in my then-current job. Excitement was the emotion I was experiencing most here.

The Third Emotional Stage of Moving Interstate: Now What?

After the excitement came the dread. The dread that I would have to leave my job, my life, my home, everything. And I only had a few weeks. SO much packing. So much organising. I felt a thorough dread in everything I did.

I started by making a list of everything I needed to do and, I'll be honest, the list was unending and I was becoming concerned that I had missed something small but instrumental in the move. By not putting it on the list, I had missed my opportunity to ever get this small thing done. So, instead, I switched to googling different generic lists and combining these all together. It seemed to work but, even over the next few stages, that initial dread haunted me.

The Fourth Emotional Stage of Moving Interstate: I Just Have to Get It Together

I got it together. I don't really know how. I just told myself I had to and plucked up all the courage I had and I did it. We got everything together in less than three weeks. In fact, we moved down south and into our new place three weeks to the day after I got my job offer!

The move itself was a whirlwind of emotions, most of which I shut down with a very quick "I just have to get it together". So, really, there is no one emotion that I can point to during all the phone calls and emails, during the packing, during the actual moving of furniture, during the drive down to our new home.

The Fifth Emotional Stage of Moving Interstate: Relief

There are no fancy names for this one. I just felt such a relief when the move was finally finished and our home was finally coming together that there really is no other way to describe it. We bought pot plants and filled the house with nice things. It took me days to pack all of my books away. It took a few weeks to get the couch in and have it delivered.

The Sixth Emotional Stage of Moving Interstate: Let Me Just Hide in a Corner Now

I've been quoted this statistic a few times. The statistic is essentially that if you don't make friends in the first 6 months of you moving to a new place, you are highly likely to leave after only 2 years. But...

I don't make friends easy and, boy, did that statistic scare the **** out of me. Don't get me wrong, I have friends. It's just that I've kept the same friends for the last 13 years (and some for more).

So the sudden realisation that I had to make some new friends for the first time in ages was not a nice one and it made me want to go hide in a corner somewhere. I didn't and I'm still looking for friends. Bumble BFF has been pretty good for that.

I'm not too sure what the other emotional stages will be as I'm still settling in, but please know that no matter how emotional it got, it was my decision and it was a good one.


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