Life Gone Wild
March 19, 2013 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Recently, my life went bonkers and now I'm "starting over."

Basically everything I had tying me to my current location (Philly), I don't have anymore. These things included an LTR, great job, close friendship, apartment, etc. In addition to those practicalities, some unrelated weird/stressful stuff has been sprinkled in there and I just feel totally tapped out.

I decided to move back up to my hometown on Long Island and live in my parents' garage. I keep going back and forth between being excited and feeling totally exhausted and doubting. Is it even possible to recalibrate and "start over"? The thought of staying in Philly is just exhausting. Am I just trying to escape problems that will follow me wherever I go? Have you ever picked up and started anew? I'd love to hear advice about how I should be approaching this change in order to make it positive. Thank you.
posted by Katine to Human Relations (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I pick up and start over regularly!

So you live in your parents garage for awhile. No biggie, you regroup, you get a new job, you get a new place, you get a new relationship and you get new friends.

I also know when it's time to get out of Dodge and frankly, it's time.

Summer is coming, and soon the days will be longer, it'll be warm and you'll feel much better about the whole thing.

Start by updating your resume with your new address and apply for new jobs. Call all your old buds from the neighborhood and tell them you're coming home. Have a yard/stoop/garage sale and get rid of anything that doesn't fit into your new life!

Pack your car with the rest and go home.

Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:44 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]

Moving will force you to sort through all of your stuff and get rid of some, always good. Living cheaply (rent-free?) will help you to save money once you find work. Focus on things you'll be able to do at your parents'. Focus on strengthening yourself, both physically and emotionally. Go to the beach! Take long walks, ride your bike, help your parents with home repair projects. Acquire new skills by taking a class.
posted by mareli at 11:49 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]

And here's an article for you.
posted by mareli at 11:51 AM on March 19, 2013

I moved out of Philly after a similar thing. Moved back in with parents, took a non-comittal job to sort of heal. Went back to school. Got another (better) paying job.

Make sure you get out of the house, and try to make long term plans to move out in 6-12 months. This can be for school (such as it was for me) or a job.

Addendum: I can assure you that yes, Philly is exhausting to live in, especially after losing everything.
posted by hellojed at 11:52 AM on March 19, 2013

I tend to idealize my past and future or other locations as a sort of escapism. Starting over is totally possible, but be careful that you're not letting one thing in your life that didn't pan out needlessly color the rest of your life. Take an honest look at yourself, or talk to someone you trust and have them give you their honest opinion on your situation (if you can do that and not be offended by what they say...). Write your thoughts down and then read them.

Kenny Rogers puts it best: "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run." Take a deep breath. Relax. Stay busy. Make a plan. Be willing to change the plan if it doesn't work out.
posted by uncannyslacks at 11:54 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

You sound overwhelmed and depleted. Going home to rest, reconnect with your roots, grieve any losses, and get some distance and perspective on things, sounds like a wise plan.

I've done similar, more than once, and it gave me the breathing room to strategize and move forward. My parents were really great at giving me perspective. Perhaps yours will do the same. (This assumes relations with your folks are relatively healthy.) My present-day life is so much better for it.

Sometimes a time-out is needed. It's OK. Return to the nest, mend, and fly again when you are healed and strong.
posted by nacho fries at 12:39 PM on March 19, 2013

When you boomerang back to the 'rents house, it's all too easy to isolate yourself and devolve to childhood patterns. This is a sure ticket to depression.

The trick is to create structures, activities, and connections that will get you off the sofa and moving in a positive direction.

One simple one is to set up a Monday morning check-in at a cafe with some friends, where you talk about what you're going to focus on and accomplish that week.

Another tip is helping out around the house. Working in the garden, decluttering the garage and other home improvement projects are great for mood improvement, plus they let your folks know that you're participating as an adult rather than a dependent.

Exercise is also great for changing your mood and elevating your thoughts. Find a local hill to walk up, ride your bike, etc. A workout partner really helps.
posted by ottereroticist at 12:53 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm doing this right now. It's scary but also really refreshing and liberating.
posted by spunweb at 1:34 PM on March 19, 2013

You sound like me five years ago. I moved to Boston for a girl and had no reason to stay once that relationship fell apart. I moved in with my parents for a few weeks to compose myself and then I moved to Philly to start over. Best decision ever.

What helped me the most during that transition was that I had an endgoal. I knew what I wanted to do and I knew where I wanted to do that; I just needed to make a layover in my parent’s basement.

It is 100% ok to take time for yourself to just…exist. It’s probably not the greatest idea in the world to spend months and months not doing anything but give yourself a day, a week, a month, or however long you need to refocus after a difficult time. I was lucky to move back home during a holiday so I had a great excuse to kick back and do nothing except surround myself with friends, family and food for a few days.

This can be an exciting time. You can go anywhere for any reason. I moved to Philly to hang out with my best friend and I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t make that choice.
posted by Diskeater at 2:13 PM on March 19, 2013

I've done this. Think of all the exciting fun things you can do in your new life, how you can start fresh and build a whole new future for yourself. Sometimes you'll probably still feel sad and that is totally fine and normal. Just try to keep your face forward and your head up and think of what life has in store for you. I had a much harder time with my start over than I ever would have imagined, but I'm through it now and my life is pretty great, probably even better than I would have imagined. Despite the heartache and struggle, I don't regret it for a second. In fact, thinking back through my whole life, every time I did something that was unknown and scary it turned out to be an amazing experience that I'm so happy I got to have. I think you might find the same thing happens for you. I hope you do! Fortune favors the bold.
posted by young sister beacon at 6:29 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've done this. I even moved away from Philly. Twice, actually! The second time was a bigger deal, because it was after the breakup of a long relationship, leaving a job that I hated, and I moved to a new coast, not knowing anybody where I was going. I was sort of naive about it, thinking that I was hitting this magical reset button and everything was going to be dreamy from there on in. That was definitely not the case, but I don't regret for a moment making the move. I know that if I'd stayed, I'd just be thinking, "what if?"

Go for it! You seem to be self aware enough to know that any problems that you have, you will still have to deal with, as a responsible adult, wherever you may roam. And Philly will (most likely) always be there (in all its ragged glory) should you decide moving away was not the right choice for you.
posted by medeine at 11:28 PM on March 19, 2013

Is it even possible to recalibrate and "start over"?

I did this afteer the Dot-Com recession - left where I was, went back to RI to crash at the 'rents. I was there for as long as the unemployment lasted, and then I got a modest job, and a small, decent apartment nearby, and rebuilt my career and personal life.

It's useful to have friends and family nearby as part of your support group - and you being nearby will help them in the long run as well.

Sometimes, it's easier to be a medium fish in a small pond than a medium fish in a gigantic ocean. No shame in going home, as long as it's a step along a new path, and not a retreat from the world.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:23 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

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