Ugly crying over moving out? Been there! Here are my 5 steps to happiness

July 14 | Guest post by Silly Sad Susie
By: Carolyn ColesCC BY 2.0 (This is not the author.)
I feel embarrassed to confess this, so please bear with me (I feel so silly). But… I am moving out of my first very own apartment, and I cried more about this than I like to admit.

When I was 19 I jumped at the first chance to move out of my parent's house. I moved in with my first boyfriend and things didn't work out. We broke up and I moved out. I found a roommate online and moved in with her, and after cleaning up after her mess for almost a year, I couldn't take it any longer. I decided to get out. Although I had a partner when I moved out, I wanted to try living on my own after all this trouble. So I found my own place. It is tiny and old and not in the best condition but I LOVE it!

This place became my hoodie, my comfort zone. For the first time in 15 years I didn't dread coming home. Oh, the freedom! The endless possibilities!

Fast forward to 2014: my partner and I have to relocate soon. And although I know good things are ahead, I am devastated. I am losing my first and only home I ever truly had and loved. Oh the tears, oh the fights ("I feel like you don't want to do all this. Do you want to stay?" "You don't GET me! *insert ugly crying*). But I have to roll up my sleeves and dig in.

How do I cope with this, you ask? Good question. There are five strategies I came up with that have been helping me with my struggle to say bye to my bachelorette pad…

1. Allow myself to mourn

There is no way around it: I am sad, my heart has got some cracks and I am overwhelmed. So let's cry it out. I talked to my partner about this in a quiet moment, confessed my sadness and he understood. Whenever I feel like everything is too much, we are both now on the same page and he knows that this is part of a mourning process, not a sign of doubt.

2. Analyze the situation

What exactly is my problem? Let's dig somewhat deeper… I am losing my comfort zone (loss of stability and the known) while simultaneously facing a difficult situation (fear of the new, lack of support system in the new city, uncertain future). But moving forward is the only way to go, so let's make the best of this knowledge.

3. Set aside time for my own

A part of my problem is grieving over letting go of this time of my life where I was able to be all on my own. So while packing up my stuff, I want to crack open a beer or two and take my sweet time alone. Reminiscing and saying my goodbye. I plan to purge and take the chance to halve my belongings. While doing this I am looking forward to carefully pick out some things that will have a special place in the new apartment. Plus: I am re-ordering my favourite room scent so the new place will feel more like home from the get-go.

4. Embrace the possibilities

Painting walls, re-arranging furniture… the next place might even finally have a balcony. Look at all the good things that are coming! I loved making this old place our home, I just have to remind myself of this again. And let's be honest: this place right now is way too tiny. I am looking so forward to finally having some ROOM. And all the flea-market shopping and the craigslist-surfing that is ahead of me? Girl, you will LOVE this!

5. Put on my big girl pants

Alright, here we are, you all might have already be waiting for this: The big girl pants. Tough situation? True, let's tough it out. I already accomplished much harder tasks, survived harder times. It is time to shift my perception — I am not just losing my first home, I am moving on. This is an opportunity, not the end of the world.

One more thing:

I am taking my partner with me. All the feelings of security I connect to this place? Let's be real. It truly is my partner I can rely on the most. Not some walls, windows or a couch. Just because I am not used to having someone I can count on while growing up doesn't mean I don't have a family right now. And this little family of two is now taking a chance and moving forward. And I am so thankful for this.

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  1. I went through all of these feelings recently when my fiance and I moved from my condo to our first home together. I bought the condo 4 years ago and lived on my own for 3 of them. Him moving in was a crazy change but we made it work. It took a while to get used to it, and letting go of "my things" and "my habits" and "my way" of doing somethings, but I got used to it.

    It was worse moving out of the condo recently! It was MY first home. Packing was the most difficult thing. Once we had most things packed, living there became an inconvenience (ie… where did you put the spices? oh they are packed…) we lived without most of our kitchen for a week. At that point I said- lets get it over with, move and I have been fine since. Without furniture, the condo doesn't look like my home anymore. Now I just want it to get rented!

    Thank you for posting this- i totally went through the same thing!

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  2. Perfect timing!! Next year my little family is moving from po-dunk Delaware to North Vegas. I've lived here my whole life and it is exciting / terrifying!! I need to have the old man read this so he can understand the mood swings of fear and sadness, and know that even though I'm scared of the future, I'm ready to move on from this town.

    1 agrees
    • I know your feels! I moved from central Maryland to Las Vegas (I'm down by Whitney/Henderson) last year, and it's taken me the better part of my whole first year here to mourn and deal with the change. I had lived in Maryland my whole life, and hadn't done much moving at all, and wham, bam – out of the lush green farmland to the middle of the desert. While the fear is gone now, the sadness still hits me from time to time, and it still hits my spouse as well! We just have to remind ourselves that what matters is each other (and our cats) – as long as we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and each other, where we live is just the backdrop. It's the backdrop for some really cool stuff – but it's not the foreground.

  3. Thank you for this!
    We moved back to my hometown of Pittsburgh 2 years ago and I didn't think I would become so attached. I knew it might only be temporary. But now (for work) we're moving a 15 hr drive/non-direct plane flight away, and I am SO SAD. I have loved having my family so close and developing relationships with them as adults, and seeing my daughter grow up with them as a part of her life. I like our house and dealing with selling it or renting it out is also really sad and stressful. I just want to stay here and keep living in it, not move to this new house that needs a lot of work in a new state in which we have no family support.
    Anyway, this is hard, but I appreciate your positive comments about how to move on. We don't have a choice.

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    • My husband and I are moving from L.A. to Pittsburgh in a few weeks. Where's your house?!(*: P.S. Sorry that you have to leave your home.

  4. This post is aptly timed, I need those strategies in my life right now.
    In a few months my fella and I are moving from Southern California to a tiny town in the Midwest, likely for the foreseeable future. While I look forward to our future and I know financially this is the best choice for us, I am having a hard time letting go of my life here. My roots (spiritual, familial, and emotional) run so deep that I'm getting super emotional and sentimental about the thought of leaving.
    I'm finding myself panicking about the tiniest things ("you mean I CAN'T just walk to the healthy grocery store and get giant avocados for 99 cents?" ) and the Big stuff ("I'm a little worried about being a tattooed/rockabilly-nerd / pansexual/feminist in a town whose yelp page lists more conservative churches than restaurants.")
    I know I've been spoiled growing up here, and I'll adapt. The strategies you created will help, so thank you, I will work on this.
    But at this moment, in the words of the Tenth Doctor "I don't wanna go…"

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    • Hubby & I are moving the opposite very soon….ND to northern Cali. There are people here in the Midwest that are more open to the "alternative/edgy". They are just a little harder to find. Truth be told it was a good 8-12 months before I felt even a little settled but my new friends (met mostly through a statewide volunteer group) were lifesavers! Wish you lots of luck with settling in!

  5. I totally get this. I'm always a little sad moving out of places, and I've moved a lot since leaving my parents house at 18. One of the weirdest though was when my husband and I moved out of our apartment in Woodburn. If anyone in Oregon knows Woodburn they probably just go there for the outlet mall, but it's a small little racially diverse town sort of in the middle of nowhere just off the I-5. There's not a lot to do there, not many nice restaurants or bars (but Luis's Taqueria rocks!), and no movie theater, but I really got attached to it. We lived there because I was student teaching at the local high school and driving an hour away to grad school, while my husband (fiance at the time) was teaching in Portland. I spent more time in the town than he did and because of my students I really got to know the area. Plus I was training for a half marathon at the time and would spend hours running all through the streets and getting to know the place in a way that you don't if you just drive through. It was our first apartment in the States with just the two of us that we stayed in longer than 4 months and I got attached, but he didn't. I felt sad leaving all my students, my mentor teacher, my favorite taco place, and one of the first real apartments we had together that we got to choose. It's hard when a place means more to you than your partner and it can seem silly but it often means that it was just a pivotal time in your life and for you the feelings you have about that time are wrapped in where you lived. I like your suggestions, they would have been helpful for me back then because the move was hard (see also: newly engaged, newly graduated, looking for a job, and leaving my students). One more suggestion I would have: take a memento with you from your old place. It could be a clipping of a plant from the backyard you liked, a graphite rubbing of your old key, a rock from the yard, a square of wallpaper to frame if it's being redone, etc. Just something from the old place to display in the new one.

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    • The graphite rubbing of the key is totally happening! What an awesome idea! I could pair it up with a print out of google maps showing the old and the new town! ha! nothing better than to channel sadness into creativity.

    • My husband, children, and I just went on a road trip and stayed in Portland for a new days. Lots of previous discussions about where would we ever go to if we move so as to escape the heat and the "Harshly Unpleasant Oher Political Party Than We Are Member To". I would gladly move to any place in Portland. That is the place we dreamed of? I have lived in this state 51 years now, and sooooooooo ready to leave it.

      I would leave this McMansion and prosperous job behind any day.

      So I wonder just how far that anxiety goes once one has reached a certain age, and certain goals in life. There are just soooooo many things that aren't important anymore as they are replaced for other things.

      I don't even know if this comment is appropriate here, or anywhere. But someday I can tell you all about how traumatic it was to leave the house we owned to this new one. I was younger and it was just awful. I felt so betrayed. I fell for you.

  6. I totally echo the "allow yourself to mourn" advice. Once I stopped beating myself up for being sad over leaving something (that I thought was) as insignificant as a building, I was able to actually feel the feelings of sadness that I had, and then move on. Thanks for this post!

    4 agree
  7. Preach it, Numbah Three. I absolutely must say goodbye to every space. I just take a mental picture of the space and stew in the memories I want to take with me before I move on. It helps so much.

  8. And one MORE thing: you are taking you with you. You have always been and will always be there for you. You made decisions to move yourself put of bad situations and to follow your heart many times–you sound like a pretty awesome and trustworthy you to have, come what may.

    3 agree
  9. I relate to the grieving thing too. One house I moved out of I found a 'prayer for leaving a house' that we used as we closed the door for the last time. It's lost in the mists of the interwebs now, but it was good to stand on the front step, acknowledge the good times we had spent there and the struggles it had helped us face, then have some words to give closure and help me walk away.

    That house still makes me smile when I pass it.

    3 agree
  10. I wish I had a place to call home like that. I, too, jumped at the chance to move out when I just turned 17. Ever since then I have yet to find my "home". Moving around sucks, I have yet to find that place where I'm that comfertable. Soon!

    1 agrees
    • Angela, I feel you. It takes a lot of work to make something "yours". You deserve your happy place just as everyone does. Go, paint a wall bright yellow, buy yourself a plant and watch it grow, put glowing stars over your bed. Do what makes you happy!

      If everything fails or is not possible moneywise: The scent of freshly baked bread is instant home-feeling for me. Try it!

      1 agrees
  11. This was an incredibly relevant post for me right now. I just moved out of my (first, very own) apartment in DC and am currently mid-move to Asheville, NC. My last week in The District was a blur of trying to do/see all my favorite things "one last time." It helps me to remember that things very rarely happen for the LAST time. I often find myself back in places where I would have sworn I'd never come back to. It's rarely goodbye, more often see ya later.

    I'm still coming to terms with a lot of the changes (wait…you mean I can't walk to work anymore?), but this move comes with a better job and closes the distance on a 2-year LDR, so I know it's right. But, like you said, knowing it's right doesn't always make the actual move any easier. There are a lot of emotions tied up in the places we call home, and whether you're renting or buying, you find ways to make it yours. I'll miss my little studio and my city, but I'm sure I'll find tons of new things to love in Asheville. And sometimes, you just have to keep reminding yourself of that until it happens, I think.

    1 agrees
    • You will love Asheville! It is a place of good art and good food and good madness. Cheerful people, and lots of music, and did I mention good food? You can sometimes walk to work. The trick is to either live & work in west Asheville, or live in Montford & work downtown. I would recommend settling in by exploring downtown on foot. Every nook and cranny is filled with cafes, galleries, and neat little shops. Go to the coffee bus, and the Woolworth lunch counter/art gallery, and the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, and watch the street performers. Then hit Biltmore Village for antiquing and the River Arts District to stroll through open studios filled with amazing local art! It's definitely not DC, but it's its own kind of wonderful.

  12. I never lived alone until after my husband and I seaparated. My first own apartment is old and not exactly perfect, but I love it and truly feel at home here. Unfortunately, the house was sold last month and the new owner wants to demolish my apartment and connect it to the other 3 apartments on the same floor. I have to move out soon and I'll miss my place so much!

    Thank you for this article. It'll help me to mourn and move on.

  13. The home that my husband and I live in right now is amazing. It's 3-bedroom (we have no kids, so we each have our own spacious offices/music rooms), high ceilings, all roomy, down a private estate driveway at the end of a cul-de-sac so there's no traffic noise, surrounded by bush, and right on the water. It's wonderful.
    However, my husband is now a student, and on one income, although we can afford it (just), we realistically could be easily living in a slightly smaller, slightly less attractive house, for $100+ less a week than we're paying right now. It just makes no sense to pay that much just for a "nice place".
    We've signed a contract, but our landlords are awesome, and I'm sure if we ask to end it early with plenty of notice they'd be happy to do that (then they can skyrocket the price, we negotiated them down already!). But I will grieve like losing a limb having to lose that house. It makes me so sad and I go between saying "it's fine, it's stupid to pay this much anything" and "noooo I love it here" and then sometimes resenting my husband for no longer working and making it that we can't afford it anymore. Blah. I have all the feels.

  14. So well timed! I moved from my second-and-most-loved solo apartment in May, spent two months living with friends (which got old so fast), and now I'm living with my partner again. Which is great — the new apartment is awesome, and I'm so happy to have my dude with me again — but I've been missing my old place. Though I know it's not the apartment, really; it's the feeling of control over my own life and space that I miss.

  15. Moving is both stressful and emotional, but once everything is said and done, you will be so happy in your new place. Thanks for sharing.

    1 agrees

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