It was new. It was exciting. It was everything I’d hoped for, and a great deal more.

I’d visited Vancouver twice before deciding to move to Abbotsford, just 70km outside of the city.

But when I finally arrived, and saw everything that was available, my mind was blown.

This is Life Transitions. Welcome to day four.

Life Transitions Progression

If you’d like to follow along, here’s what we’ve covered so far

Life Transitions, Day 1 (Introduction)
Life Transitions, Day 2: Resistance
Life Transitions, Day 3: Jobs & Careers

Locational Transitions

Most if not all of us will experience locational transitions in our lives.

Whether it’s moving overseas or picking out a new coffeehouse because your favorite one closed down.

Census.gov says people will move 11.7 times in their lifetime.

Not sure what that 0.7 means. Maybe you croak while making your final move?

(Excuse my morbid sense of humor – but I think you’ll agree it helps to have one when it comes to major life transitions).

Changing locations is generally on the spectrum of exciting to scary and many shades in between.

And even though this is somewhat backwards, changes in life are generally what prompt us to move.

We lose a spouse. Lose a job. Find a new opportunity.

These are the types of events that have us chasing new horizons literally.

What’s critical to understand is that one major life change every few years can already be a significant blow to your mental health. Two or three major changes in the span of a few months can prove even more stressful.

That’s why I said it’s “somewhat backwards.”

How Long Does the “Honeymoon” Last?

From science and experience, I can say that your feelings of excitement or fear of a new location will subside around the nine- to 12-month mark. In some cases, it may be even less, at a about six to nine months.

This can be both a curse and a blessing.

Because if you’re excited about your new locale, those rose-colored glasses are going to come off within a year. Which can be a curse.

But if you’re fearful of your new hometown, your sense of security should increase in a year or less. And that can be a blessing.

We could compare it to the “honeymoon” period every in-love couple has – which on average lasts about two to three years. Beyond that, it’s a matter of finding common interests and working on communication.

(This is a gross assessment of the facts, and relationships can thrive given the right actions, but on average, this is what we see.)

But you might still be worried about those six to 12 months. Here’s what I would suggest.

How to Handle Locational Transitions

Here are some tips on how you can get acclimated to your new environment while enjoying the experience:

  • Embrace a spirit of adventure. This is the same advice I’ve given to friends who asked me whether they’d ever meet someone. It might seem trite. But give it a try. Bombarding your senses with more new things might seem like the last thing to do for your mental health, but I would argue that finding a new self in a new environment can be quite liberating and exciting.
  • Find something you like about your new locale. You may not like everything about the new town you’ve arrived at. Find something you can latch onto. It might be the food, the weather, the people, or otherwise. If you can identify at least one positive thing about living in a new place, that thought will stay with you.
  • Find a friend. Nothing is “solid” until you’ve found a friend you can talk to. And I’m not talking about running back to your old friends and telling them your stories of woe, though it doesn’t hurt to stay in touch with your old network. I’m talking about finding at least one person locally you can talk to and process new information with.

Does Location Matter? – The Truth

Some will say location is everything. You’ve got to be the right person, at the right time, in the right place, to snag the right opportunities and take life by the horns.

Others say location doesn’t matter as much as it used to. You’ve got the internet. Social media. You can connect to anyone you want at any time. All the tools are right at your fingertips.

Since we are in the era of a worldwide pandemic, we must embrace the latter. But in general, I am more of the opinion that location does matter.

I’m not 100% on one side and 0% on the other. It’s more of an 80/20 split.

When I lived in Calgary, I used to say that you need a home base anyway, and what difference is it going to make if I’m going to be traveling around as a musician, anyway?

As I spent many months and even years never traveling outside of Calgary… No wonder I remember all the times I did travel so vividly.

If I had resisted moving to Abbotsford, then I would not be exposed to such beautiful scenery, amazing temperate weather (if you like rain – I do), and incredible food (I’m a foodie, so that’s a big one).

I’d had plenty of time to explore what was available in Calgary and area. And I will always have fond memories of that experience. But I was ready for more too.

I can’t say much in terms of career opportunities in Vancouver because I’ve been working from home since 2016. Still, I’ve met some acquaintances and colleagues I never would have had I not moved. So, there’s probably something there too.

Sure, you can sell products, courses, memberships, masterminds, and live events over the internet.

But if you really want to sell yourself… if want to make a vital connection, sell your business to venture capitalists, strike up a long-term partnership… Here’s the bottom line. You’ve got to see people face to face. There’s no substitute for it.

Location, Final Thoughts

When moving from one place to another, give yourself plenty of grace and time to adapt.

After all, it’s usually on the heels of a separate life transition that we find ourselves moving to a new city.

How many times have you moved? How do you handle locational transitions?

I look forward to sharing more on the topic of life transitions, and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them too.

Please leave a comment below.

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