What a great opportunity for you and your husband! I think you have already identified one of the key challenges of moving from a long-established home in a part of the country you know you love (Colorado, of course!) to a completely new and different part of the country. Of course you will miss the people you love, your familiar haunts and the wonderful companionship you currently enjoy.
There are several factors that influence a person’s reaction to a move. Probably the most important is whether the move is chosen and desired or necessary for reasons other than genuine desire. Many spouses, both men and women, who move because they are following a partner’s job opportunities face greater challenges in adjusting to the new place and finding satisfaction in their new environment. But even moves that are chosen and desired can be more challenging than we might expect.
I would like to offer you some observations and suggestions based on my experience and the experiences of many of my clients and friends who have made similar moves:
1) One of the biggest issues related to a large move is clearing out your long-term home. What to keep, what to discard, what, if anything, to store, what to give to family members or friends. This can be a lengthy and emotionally difficult process. If you have the luxury of a few months before moving, give yourself at least a month or 6 weeks to sort through and make conscious, intentional decisions about what to keep and what to let go of. This can make your move much easier on the other end of the journey.
2) During the period before your move and before the move is imminent, make time to spend time with all your friends, coworkers and neighbors. Tell them what they have meant to you, discuss your intentions and expectations around maintaining contact with each other and generally take this unhurried opportunity to enjoy your time with each other while you are still in the area. If possible, it can be really nice to have a “bon voyage” party or a fun group gathering at a restaurant or park before you leave.
On the arrival end of your journey, there are several things you can do to facilitate a smoother transition.
1) Introduce yourself to at least a few of your immediate neighbors, check out a welcoming synagogue, church or meditation group, and consider joining the city’s official Welcome organization if there is one in your new town. It can be both fun and helpful to take the time to drive around your new community and become familiar with nearby shops, major streets and a couple of the nearby neighborhoods. Walking and bicycling are other fun ways to get to know your new city.
2) Be aware that it typically takes up to 2 years to become fully comfortable in your new environment. You may meet people you think will become friends and some of those potential friendships may develop, but it is not uncommon that there are some initial acquaintances you like that don’t turn out to become friends and this can be disappointing if you have high hopes for immediate connections.
3) Be brave and take the initiative with people you meet. Most people you meet will have already established social groups and friendships and it may take a bit of effort to become part of their social circle. Others you meet may also be new to the area or established living there but still looking for new friends and people with whom to share particular activities. Keep your eyes open for people who enjoy working out, quilting, doing art or love to read, depending on your interests. These are just a few such activities that may help you meet new people and potential friends.
These are only a few ideas. These days there are many resources to help people with the challenges of adjustment to a new region of the country. Needless to say, there will be things you really like about your new home and things that you really dislike. There are advantages and disadvantages to every place you live, but if you cultivate a positive attitude, gather a few tools, look for support and investigate resources, the transition may be easier than you think. And hopefully, on the other end of your move, you will find a satisfying new life. I wish both of you the best in your new adventure.