The Biggest Thing a Cross-Country Move Has Taught Me

Typically, I like to keep things lighthearted around here. I find it easier to discuss my favorite products and places over big life decisions. But on a recent trip back home, I had the opportunity to do some reflecting, and I thought it would only be fitting to address some thoughts here. {Pardon the sappiness…}

Unlike most things in my life, moving to San Francisco was a spontaneous decision. And while I thought living in other major US cities {and abroad} would have prepared me well for a quick west coast move, there were many things that came unexpected. Like unplanned weather. Hilly commutes. High rent prices. Cluttered streets {and extra “friendly” occupants on those.} None of these deal-breakers. But, combined with being miles away from family and friends {two time zones to be exact!} they were overwhelming.

On a particularly hard day a few weeks in, I stood on a corner in the rain, feeling frustrated and sorry for myself {almost like something out of a movie.} Out of the blue, a kind passerby looked me in the eye, paid me a sweet compliment, then was on her way. The words were so fleeting and, at any other time, I wouldn’t have second guessed them. But in that moment, they were everything I needed to lift my spirits and get me back on track to finish everything I had set out to accomplish that day. 

I’d experience those same lessons in gratitude several days later, after a wallet snatching scenario on my commute when I encountered a kind stranger who stuck up for me. Or, on the random day I came home to a sweet care package from a faraway friend, despite never being particularly close. Even the string of visitors who made the trek across the US to spend as much as 24 hours with me. So many selfless moments that I would’ve taken for granted in any other cushy, comfortable situation. But definitely not now.

I’ve also learned that these instances don’t have to be big to be significant. Scenarios like receiving a surprise bouquet of flowers, bouts of sunshine on a rainy stroll home, or stumbling into inspiring sidewalk quotes have made me realize that even when I don’t feel like I have it all, small glimpses of light/goodness/hope always suggest I have it better than I think. Call it cheesy or cliché, but the change in thought has made all the difference in my outlook while living in a new place.

I couldn’t sign-off without leaving you with a few ways to find your own moments of gratitude, or at least inspire those among others. Enjoy!

  • Make a grateful jar
  • Keep an inspiration journal
  • Read this book
  • Phone a friend out of the blue
  • Make a care package for someone special
  • Invite a new acquaintance out to coffee
  • Peruse Pinterest for feel-good quotes
  • Take a yoga class
  • Treat yourself to a favorite sweet {donuts, in my case}
  • Go on a long walk, on a beautiful day
  • Look through old photos
  • Put on an inspiring podcast

 

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