I get that some people are homebodies. I can tend to be that way myself. I’ve never been someone that wanted to move all the time. It’s just kind of been happening to me the past few years. But I’m grateful for it. I’ve made great friends and experiences that I’d never want to give back.
There is a trend I’ve noticed in my life from talking to people about times or places they haven’t enjoyed. Like high school or college. Or a church. Or a city. Not always, but usually, the people who didn’t enjoy places that a lot of other people have enjoyed share this one common reason:
They didn’t completely dive in.
I loved going to the University of Florida. I had friends who didn’t enjoy their time there, though. And the reason I found is that they were going home every weekend to their hometown. They kept one foot on campus and the other on their doorstep. And I’m not criticizing that, if that’s how they wanted to do it that’s totally cool. But I think they would have had a much different experience if they would have stayed around Gainesville on the weekends and gotten involved with campus clubs and stuff.
Same goes for people in cities who never venture out into situations where they don’t know anyone. It’s not fun, I know. It’s totally awkward and even makes you feel lonely, but if you keep diving in, it can all change in a matter of days. You never know when you’re going to meet one person that changes it all for you. All it takes is one person to like you and get to know you for everything to change.
I’m finishing up my first month in Jacksonville and it doesn’t feel like home yet. I don’t have a church yet. I don’t really have my own friend circles yet. I miss DC. I miss Gainesville. But I can’t spend my free time driving to Gainesville and expect Jacksonville to ever feel like home. Once again, I have to dive in.
In all my moving around, I’ve found it takes about six months to feel settled somewhere new, and about a year until it feels like home. Sometimes it can be sped up, but for me it’s usually somewhere in that range. It just takes time. The close friends you have now probably came from years of time spent with them.
The quickest way to speed up the process of it all is to keep going to events, and to show up when someone invites you. It’s not always fun, and sometimes you have to pretend you’re on your cell phone when you’re not to avoid standing around awkwardly (not that I’ve done that). Every time I’ve dived in, I’ve been grateful that I have.
**Yes, it was killing me this whole time not to make a Steven Curtis Chapman reference. So here is a video of him forgetting the words to satiate me.**