Moving across the country was an exciting opportunity. I saw it as the clear beginning to a new phase in my life. After graduating from university I knew I wanted to live in a bigger city. While in school I knew I wanted to settle in a bigger city. My plan after finishing uni was to bartend for six months—a sort of extended hurrah before committing to a career,—then travel for three months across Europe, and finally move to Toronto to commit to an ‘adult’ and structured life.
So, that’s what I did.
After finishing classes in December I had a great time bartending. I took responsibility over my finances; my mom helped the entire way through university, but I decided that after finishing school I wanted to be financially independent. I backpacked across Europe for six months, beginning in Lisbon and going as far east as Vilnius. After that I flew across the country and landed in Toronto.
Today marks my 17th day in the city. In these past two and a half weeks I’ve applied to countless jobs online, had a few interviews, began working with recruiting agencies to help find a placement, and been offered a part-time bartending job to make some cash on the side.
Having friends in the city has made things so much easier. I can’t imagine not knowing anyone and having to entirely cultivate a new life. Lucky for me I stayed with friends my first two weeks then found an apartment in a great part of the city. I’ve joined a gym, got my library card (the expanse of literature now available to me, for FREE, has me incredibly excited), kept my social calendar busy and distracting, and, perhaps most importantly, I’ve found a neighbourhood ramen spot (which I’ve been to seven times in the past two weeks).
Safe to say I’m getting situated and finding a routine here.
One thing I haven’t found though is a job. I was offered a bartending job in a swanky part of the city, but I haven’t been given a schedule yet. So, technically, I haven’t started working.
And it feels weird. For the first two weeks, being here kind of felt like an extended vacation. I’d saved up a good portion of money so I wasn’t desperate for work. Although I was looking hard, I wasn’t worried.
But now that October has ended and it’s fully settling in that I’m here for real, there just seem to be too many hours in the day. I need to start working!
I’m also realizing how stressful moving can be. Yes, the act of physically moving is stressful but mostly exciting, at least for me. The stressful part of moving is the actual settling in. The stressful part is where you’re literally creating a new schedule and life for yourself in this new environment.
This might be the same for many of you, and I think it is, but working gives me a sense of purpose. I like waking up early and having a schedule, I like being busy, I especially like having just a little too much on my plate. It keeps me incredibly motivated knowing that I have different commitments on the go. I like organizing and planning, and so I love the feeling of organizing my life around various responsibilities. But without a full-time job I feel like I have too much time.
A few of my friends moved here last year on a whim, just like I did. It’s been helpful to hear their stories and especially that what I’m experiencing now is exactly what they experienced a year ago: the excitement of being in a new place and then the eventual nervousness of not finding a job. Lucky for me, all my friends have helped in my job search and offered up different avenues to try, they’ve invited me to social events and kept my calendar busy, and offered up a ton of support.
Since feeling down sucks, obviously, I’ve been reflecting on how to stay positive and motivated during this transition and adjustment period of moving. I can only keep applying to jobs and going to interviews, and the rest is up to Lady Luck and the HR departments of everywhere I’m applying.
Three things that have helped me stay motivated in the adjustment period are: creating new friend groups, getting into a regular gym routine, and actively reminding myself to stay positive.
1. Create new friend groups
Luckily I knew about ten people in Toronto before moving here, which, I think, is a lot when moving to a new city. These friends introduced me to their friends and it’s been really easy to get to know new people and grow my circle. Meeting new people and making new friends has helped make my new home feel much more familiar and friendly. It’s so nice to call someone up and see a familiar face when I’m feeling down about the job search or just straight-up lonely. Making new friends has easily made this new city feel much more like home.
2. Get into a regular gym routine
Moving is a great catalyst to get into a gym routine. I personally love going to the gym for the aesthetic aspect but also because it’s such a great release of stress and aggression. Although I’ve been out of the gym for four months and feeling incredibly sore after starting back up yesterday (and then again today), I love blasting my music and focusing on challenging my body. It helps create a sense of routine too: scheduling gym classes gives me a sense of commitment and responsibility.
3. Stay positive!
Moving is always a difficult thing. Most of my move has been made easy by having friends here and, well, just being in a great city. Nevertheless, every move has it’s difficult moments. Your attitude and outlook are about the only things you can really control, ever. Actively reminding myself that this awkward transition period will be over soon, I’ll get my bartending schedule, a full-time employment opportunity will come up, and before I know it I’ll be swept up into a busy routine has helped keep me motivated.
Every move has it’s moments of loneliness, awkwardness, and unfamiliarity. The unknown can totally be scary. But moves are also full of new opportunities and new experiences just waiting to be taken advantage of. By creating new friend groups, getting into a regular gym routine, and staying positive, I’m settling into my new home and things are starting to feel a little more normal.