6 Things I’ve Learned From My Six Months in Nashville

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Life & Lifestyle

Y’all. How has it already been six months!? I seriously can’t believe how quickly the time has come and gone.

In an effort to be as cliche as possible, let’s take a quick journey back to the day it all went down.

I remember May 13 like it was yesterday.

It was one of those ideal San Diego days. You know the one — clear, sunny skies accompanied by a cool coastal breeze. It was a near-perfect day that could have convinced anyone to ditch their leaving plans and stay a while longer.

Only, I couldn’t. Because Nashville was waiting.

I boarded my one-way flight that Mother’s Day riddled with nervous excitement, a feeling that only intensified once we took off. But whatever bit of chill I had disappeared as my view of San Diego did the same. What the heck did I think was I doing?!

Luckily, my level-headed mother was sitting next to me, and she assured me things would be okay. They’d be more than okay, in fact. So I wiped my teary eyes, blew my runny nose, and tried to convince myself it would all work out. And while my mom was only trying to comfort me in that moment with her quick words of encouragement, I knew she was right. I would be fine.

About four hours into our flight we began our descent into Nashville, and an odd sense of calm came over me. And truth be told, that feeling never really left. For the past six months, I have only ever felt a constant sense of ease. Yes, I have moments where I desperately miss my family and friends back in California. But those moments pass, and I’m quick to realize there’s no reason for me to be anxious or sad or nostalgic anymore.

Because life is exactly as it’s supposed to be.

6 Things I’ve Learned From My Six Months in Nashville

1. I am in control of my own happiness

How happy I am is entirely up to me. If I want to wallow in whatever misery I’m feeling at the moment, fine. If I’m angry or exhausted or just generally blah, I allow myself to be that wholeheartedly. But I do so knowing very well that I no longer have the luxury of relying on someone else to bring me out of it. I’m on my own. It’s up to me to take notice of how I’m feeling, react to it, and come up with a plan.

Staying in on a Friday night to catch up on some well-needed self-care is totally warranted. But that comes with the expectation that I wake up early on Saturday and address what’s going on.

I realize that not everyone is wired to think this way, and I recognize how lucky I am that I can.

2. I’ll continue to make some friends and lose some, too

Moving to a new city (more than halfway across the country, no less) has opened the door to me meeting a slew of awesome new people. But just as I’m making a fresh batch of friends, I am simultaneously losing touch with some old ones, too. Such is life.

I’ve come to realize that some people are in our lives simply because it’s easy. When you’re living in the same city, there’s little effort needed (if any) to stay connected. But once one of you leaves that little bubble, it becomes apparent that neither of you is really up to the challenge of maintaining whatever remaining relationship that exists. And that’s okay.

3. Family will always be family, but that won’t make me miss them (or them, me) any less

Because of my proximity to my parents back in California and the frequency with which I made the drive home to see them, I knew that this out-of-state move was going to present a huge change with how we communicated. And more than just being a huge change, it’s proved to be a huge challenge, too — mostly on my part.

I admit that while I’ve been wrapped up in my new life here, I haven’t carved nearly enough time out of my days to catch up with family. The naive notions of “they’re family and always will be!” and “I’ll see them over the holidays!” seem to have assured me that constant communication isn’t something I necessarily need to invest in. But quick passing statements like “I’ve missed my daughter” from my mom and “anything you need to update me on?” from my dad have made me realize that my naivety doesn’t extend to how everyone in this situation thinks. They miss me and want to talk.

I’ve recognized that my ignorant mindset is likely a subconscious attempt to hide the fact that maybe, just maybe, I miss them more than I’m letting on. Which brings me to number 4 . . .

4. No one, not even an adult, is above feeling homesick

Homesickness is real. Though I’ve felt it only a couple of times since the move (and typically when I have a drink or two in my system — whoops), it’s something that has really grounded me.

The first time it hit me, I had just returned from a night out with a new group of gal pals. I came home to an eerily quiet space, and that silence made me break down. The night usually ended in fits of laughter with all my best girls, not an empty apartment. I missed that laughter. And missing that opened the door to missing everything else, too. I missed the cuddles I shared with my family dog. I missed waking up to breakfast and coffee at my parent’s house. I missed the beach and my old car and my old coworkers and the dirt path by the bay I used to run on.

I fell asleep crying and feeling very empty that night, but also woke up feeling refreshed.

That bit of homesickness I felt reminded me of the wonderful, great, irreplaceable things I have in my life. And just because they don’t necessarily exist in my current day-to-day, doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. They’re simply waiting for me to come back and visit.

5. Saving money is hard, but it’s a necessity

Yo. If this move has taught me anything, it’s that I am terrible at handling money. Like, really bad. I gave myself the benefit of the doubt the past few months, knowing well that I needed to establish some type of social life here. So I granted myself permission to eat out more than usual with friends and enjoy that extra night out on the town — something I wouldn’t typically do back in CA. But those $200 Frye boots? And that $140 sweater? Maybe not totally necessary.

I’ve recently lost sight of the fact that I’m an adult, and that being an adult means more fiscal responsibilities — like rent, bills, groceries, gas — that can’t go ignored . . . especially now that I’m on my own and don’t split costs with a roommate. I can assure you the next six months will look a liiiiittle (aka a lot) different than these first ones.

6. Doing things alone is totally cool and only weird if I make it weird

Not everyone has the same taste in food as me. And not everyone wants to go check out that art exhibit that I do. If that means making the trek alone, so be it!

Back in California, you couldn’t catch me dead in a restaurant alone or sitting at a bar by myself. Are you kidding?! I’d look like a huge loser!

Oh, how times have changed. Here, I truly don’t have a care in the world. There are some things that I want to see or try that others might not, and that’s perfectly okay. My independence is in full bloom.

Yeah, maybe that bar down the street is overrated just like everyone says. But I’ll never know unless I check it out myself. And sitting alone at this slightly overrated bar is only weird if I make it weird.


Happy six months, Nashville! Here’s to the next six.

M

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