SOCIAL STUDIES Leaving The Ones You Love Behind Myrna Valadez

In a few weeks, I will be packing up my stuff and moving a thousand miles from anyone I know. People do this sort of thing everyday but not women like me. I’m the type of woman who never considered moving more than a few miles away from my friends and family, it was just not an option. I have everything in Los Angeles; a supportive family and amazing friends in one of the most amazing cities in the world. In theory, I have everything I could ever want except for one thing: independence.

In July, I will be turning 30. I didn’t have a major revelation about my life just because I’m on the brink of turning 30, but I was presented with an opportunity that made me take a good look at my life. The first thing that came time was, “Wow, I should really act like an adult now,” (I’m not alone in feeling this way) and I could not think of one single reason for not taking this chance except for the fact that I will miss everyone too much. I was faced with the option to not change a thing and stay with my loved ones or completely change my life. I opted for the latter.

I’m now faced with this dilemma: How do I prepare myself to leave everyone I love behind? I’ve never been away from my family for more than a few weeks and the thought of having a best-friendless life simply makes matters worse. If I ever needed anything, my brother, sisters and parents were just a phone call away. If I ever needed a friend to join me on a 2am ice cream run, one text message could make that happen. My entire support system will still be a phone call away, but they will not be there to pat me on the back when I’ve succeeded or to hand me a tissue when my life is falling apart. Frankly, I don’t know what to do.

I can see the last few weeks in my hometown being filled with lots of tears (mostly mine) and I don’t want to leave on such a sad note, especially since I’m making a positive change in my life. This experience is meant to make me a stronger and independent person, yet I feel as though I’m leaving and never seeing anyone I love again which could not be farther from the truth.

Readers of HelloGiggles, how have you coped with leaving the ones you love behind?

Striking panoramic image of Seattle Skyline with Mount Rainier glowing at sunset Via Shuttershock.com

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  1. She’s not going to get in trouble as the hosptial were i go to to get checked as i am pregnant my self always has a new doctor on site, i am always to my due date and i still haven’t seen the same doctor. What i would consider you’re friend to do is stop moving otherwise she will need to get a new doctor each time because i don’t think a doctor is going to want to travel with her.

    Anonymous | 6/11/2012 11:06 pm
  2. It’s funny, seems Australians fling themselves all over the place. Longgg story short, I was born in England, grew up in Australia, moved back to England the minute I turned 18 and now am in the States. Truth is, it’s hard. It will be hard for you. You will struggle. It is lonely. It sucks, often. But this could quite possibly be the greatest step you will ever take. No one knows you out here. You can do anything. The best part? You could come running back in 2 months cause it was all too much and find that everyone in LA is incredibly proud that you took that chance. Get used to being called brave, because you are. Good luck out there.

  3. I just moved to Los Angeles from Seattle, and I’m going through the same thing! It’s hard, but you have to know that your friends and family back home will ALWAYS be there for you. Nothing is permanent, you can always go back. In the meantime, you will find a new “family” and friends in your new life in Seattle (I have to keep telling myself this after 2 months of being here alone). Life should be an adventure and there is no growth without risk.
    Maybe we should just trade friend circles. I’ll give you mine in Seattle and I’ll hang out with yours in LA :)

  4. Moving countries is seriously hard. I am sure it is similar to moving to another state in the US as it is so vast. I felt utter panic when I moved from London to Sydney. I would agree with the post above about knowing when to cut your losses. You have to really know yourself and recognise when you are unhappy instead of sticking it out. It is is great to remain positive and think about all the really great people you will meet. You will meet them but sometimes they are not enough. I think moving when you are younger is easier. It depends on the city too. Some cities are suitable for some people, more friendly. Depends on what your idea of friendship is too. Some people are happy with acquaintances and others need deeper friendships. I think it also depends on your plan. People who move to a country for a year with every intention of going home seem to cope more easily. They are buying an experience and their advice, ideas on moving etc don’t really help, if that is not your plan.

  5. Skype, Whatsapp and FaceTime will come to your rescue! I moved from Singapore (where my family and most of my friends still are) to Sydney nearly 2 years ago, while my boyfriend is in South Africa and my best friend in Tokyo. Despite the random bouts of loneliness (and, at times, regret) I have experienced during my time here, I still have made some incredible new friends and even reconnected with some old ones too. I hope your move goes smoothly and that you have a wonderful time in Seattle!

  6. Welcome to Seattle! If you can break through the “seattle freeze” exterior, there are some pretty nice/awesome people in this city! Don’t be discouraged if it takes you awhile to adjust to your new surroundings. My husband moved here from the South five years ago and still isn’t used to the weather! Best of luck with the move, keep us updated!

  7. I’m from Southern California and in February, I moved 3,000 miles away from everyone I knew and loved to settle in Boston. I thought that I’d be able to handle not being near my family (my best friend included) and I’d steeled myself for the daunting task of meeting new people and accepting the loneliness as it came. That worked out great, up until a month later, when I ended up with my life crumbling around me. Without a support system, I found myself having some pretty terrifying psychotic breakdowns and long story short, I’m now temporarily back in California.
    I guess the moral of the story is that yes, learning to be alone not lonely is very important. But don’t let yourself get too comfortable that way. Go out. Make friends. Build a support system so that when the time comes (and unfortunately, it will come) you won’t end up in the same boat that I did.

    • Thanks for your honesty Alyss, I expected to go through some rough times but I’m already attempting to do everything I can in order to avoid feeling completely alone. Hope you’re up for giving it another go soon, only if you’re ready!

  8. I moved from Los Angeles CA to Memphis TN a little over a year ago. It was really hard leaving everyone I knew but I did it for the same reason: the opportunity at a better life. To be honest, I was so high on the independence and so excited to be on my own, that it helped distract/dull the loneliness. However, any moment that I did feel really homesick and start missing my family & friends I just reminded myself why I moved out here. Also, all of these important people that I miss who were sad to see me go, they are also really proud of me for being brave enough to up and leave for greener pastures. Good luck dear! It will be the time of your life on your own :)

  9. I live the exact same thing! I’m moving overseas (from France to England) in september and I dont know how I’m gonna deal with not being around my loved ones, especially my Mom. But I guess that’s what it takes to live the life you wanna.

  10. I moved to a tiny town in the mountains in New Mexico from New Jersey last may and it was terrifying and I was totally out of my element. I’m back home now but it was such a learning experience and I got to do things I never thought I’d be able to do. The hardest part about where I was was that there wasn’t a big community of people my age. However, in Seattle you won’t have that problem!! My biggest suggestion is to not be afraid to go out and do things by yourself, you have a whole new city to explore and this means you’ll probably have to eat out by yourself (bring a book! ) and a ton of other things. In the end, I learned a lot about myself and I’ms ure you will too! Good luck girl!

  11. Myrna! I am moving to Seattle in August and doing something very very similar to you! I have lived in the town I was born and raised in all my life and its time to get out! I for one am very very excited for it, but I too am scared. My plan is to be open to all kinds of opportunity and to participate as much as I can. It will in no way be easy thats for sure, but I send you tons of positive vibes and awesomeness! I’m sure it will be great!

  12. I’m graduating next year and in my country,Brazil,is common to live with your parents until you finish college. I’m planning to go to Canada after that but i’m also really afraid because i’ll leave my family, that i’m really close to,friends,and everything i know cause it’s gonna be a totally diferent culture,new language,new weather and i’ll be by myself to face it. I spent 4 weeks last year in US and i only stopped crying in the 5th day. I still have a year to think about it and i’ll enjoy as much time as i can with my loved ones. Good luck in your new journey!!

  13. great read, Myrna! I left all my lovies behind in September (Atlanta to Minneapolis) and it was tough, but I could not let an amazing opportunity pass me by. Think of all the new people and experiences you will have in your new city. I was a recent college grad at the time of my move and never lived outside of Atlanta or on my own for that matter. My move to the Twin Cities was that real swift kick in the butt I had been needing to get up and do what I wanted, wherever I wanted. I have met so many incredible people over the past few months and while they don’t replace those loved ones from my hometown, it’s good to know that I have folks who care about me in my new home just like I do back home. Congrats and good luck with your move, many amazing things await you i’m sure :)

  14. Alright Me, Desi, shamir and the kids will need to take a road trip out there! Just make friends with some birds!

  15. IF YOU MAKE ME CRY, I’M GOING TO STOP BEING YOUR FRIEND.

    • I expect to have a non-stop cry fest for a few hours (or days) with you, Karina and Patty. Of course, I’m sure they’ll tell us to suck it up.

  16. After moving across the ocean to England, I found the best part was getting to reinvent yourself, to meet new people who didn’t expect you to have certain hang-ups about certain issues. Suddenly I got to be the best version of myself. But then I discovered I had to also be flawed, and open up to new people. These people had to love me for me, not because they have known me for a gajillion years, and that has produced some of the most rewarding friendships. I still miss home, and keep in touch with my friends and family via Skype, but I have created a new home and a fresh beginning. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Good luck on your new adventure!

    • That’s probably what I fear the most, stepping out of my comfort zone and actually going out and making new friends. It’s a lot of fun to hang out with new people but it’s always a little scary revealing yourself to new people. Thanks for reading!

  17. I love this article. I’ve been thinking of moving so many times & in the back of my head, the main thing is always leaving my family and friends behind. I don’t know if I could do it. I really appreciate this article as there are no wrong answers. I love to read that it is hard and I love to read that it does get better and maybe it don’t. I respect anyone who can be so brave to leave everything and everyone they know behind to take a chance at life. To experience life. It inspires me to do the same.

    • Hi Joelle, thanks for reading! Although I haven’t actually left yet, I can tell you this: Don’t do it unless you know you’re ready. I knew I was ready when I didn’t initially dismiss the idea and actually couldn’t find a reason NOT to do it.

  18. Great article Myrna! I too have moved away countless times from my home to new places and at first it can be a bit scary but it’s one of the best learning experiences that I have had. I learned so much about myself and what I was capable of doing and became more independent than I believe I would have if I decided to stay close to home. It’s an exciting and sometimes difficult adventure but one that I am so grateful for. Wishing you all the best in your move and new life adventure!

  19. I moved to Portland all the way from little old Las Cruces, NM about 5 years ago and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I cried for days…years, maybe? It’s really, really hard, I won’t lie. But, somewhere in all that sadness, you start making a life for yourself that IS independent. And, when you go back home, you realize you still fit into that world because it will never not be home. But, then, you also realize, the place you are living now, is also your home. Yours and yours alone. It will be really hard, but it will be really, really worth it.

    • Thanks for being so honest, I expect to spend the first few weeks doing nothing but crying! I know it will eventually fade but that’s the part I dread the most but I do keep reminding myself that I will be doing this to make myself an awesome person.

  20. ah! i am very familiar with the circumstance that you are about to face! i moved to NYC from Texas 9 months ago. all this after having graduated from law school and suddenly realizing that i still needed an adventure that was my own. the idea of moving back to the city i grew up in, in a state i never really left, terrified me.

    i was the opposite of you in that i wasn’t fearful of leaving my loved ones . . . as the only child, i’m used to venturing out on my own, out of a sort of defiance and rebellion. but, i’ve actually found that i very much miss my loved ones – friends and family alike. it’s rough – especially as i make a transition from the schooling world to the working world.

    how i cope is to remind myself that i need to be patient with my new life. any transition is difficult, but these life-changing, uprooting your life type transitions are even more so. any connection you make with someone, appreciate it and remember that each friendship takes time to cultivate. also, it’s up to you to decide how much you invest in those relationships. if you put yourself out there, you won’t be disappointed.

    also, realize that life back home will go on . . . you may miss out on some details here and there, but know that your presence is missed. make it a point to chat to your best friends and family members once a week or so. my best friend and i haven’t lived in the same city, much less state, since we graduated from college 5 years ago. but, we hardly go a week without speaking – and we see each other at least a couple times a year.

    in the end, you will be stronger for venturing out on your own. you will have a better sense of self and you will realize who your closest, most loyal friends are (this is bittersweet as you will also realize who are NOT your closest, most loyal friends). but, stay positive and remember that investing in your discovery of self is the best gift you can give yourself!

    • Thanks for responding! I know I’m going to be in constant contact with everyone back home but I fear it will make me even more homesick. I won’t know unless I try and I and there is definitely no going back on this adventure!