A little over a year ago my family and I moved to Alberta from Vancouver Island. Trading the mountains for the prairies, the four of us arrived with a dog and dozens of boxes to unpack. Being a teenager, I know how hard it can be. Having been the biggest move I have experienced since I was four, instantly becoming the ‘new girl’ was pretty difficult the first few months, I will admit. I already had familiar friends and places and I didn’t really think I needed new ones. A whole new province, school and groups of people; even the culture here seemed different to me. Everything was new and at first I didn’t like all the change.
I’m Samara and I want to share with you some things I have learnt over the past year that I am hoping will help you, whether you have recently moved or not. Hopefully you will learn how to help someone else who is going through a move or how to be prepared for big changes in general.
I know how hard it can be, especially since our old place was the only home I really knew. You probably do not feel like this is where you belong. You are probably so sick of hearing, “everything happens for a reason” that you could throw up, but what does that really mean? It means that you are here for not only the practical reason that led to your move but maybe a more personal one. There is no doubt a move consists of new and different things constantly being put in front of you, which can be difficult at first, but the reasons you are here can come out of these new experiences. Moving can be the worst or best thing that is ever happened to you and it is your choice to decide between the two. Since you cannot control many of life’s circumstances, avoid thinking about how much you wish things could be like they used to. Instead, you need to do two things: change your mental perspective on your situation and then go out and become part of your community.
Many self-help books and sites describe how to ‘cope’ with any huge changes. But to cope only means to ‘deal with’ and ‘get by’. Simply enduring does not help. You will keep denying the change and will never be able to get used to your new home. You need to resolve and dissolve that denial by changing your mindset. It takes time to be able to appreciate the newness of everything, but the earlier you start thinking differently, the earlier you will start to enjoy the new things that arrive with a move. Once you resolve the denial by changing the way you think about your situation, the negative thoughts will dissolve.
So how do you change your perspective? First, know a move means change. That might sound simple to some but I know it is anything but. Do not think about change as a bad thing because life means going through phases, growing and experiencing different things every day. Things will not be like what you are used to but that means there is room for amazing new opportunities and experiences.
A second thing you can realize is how many other people are in the same situation. According to the Airdrie Echo, our province’s premier recently stated that around three hundred people relocate to Alberta each day. With those numbers, there has to be someone else out there who is feeling exactly how you are. Know you are not the only one and try to find someone who is in the same boat as you.
Thirdly, you should understand that moving does not equal loss, it equals gain. You may or may not be able to keep developing close relationships with old friends anymore or experience the familiar things you experienced every day, but that does not mean you lose them. No matter what, your old friends, experiences, and memories will always be there and you will gain new friends, experiences, and memories. You might realize how you may have took your friends for granted at times and will be able to appreciate them that much more when you do meet again. It is definitely hard at first to let go of the very people and other things you created your identity around and enjoy the change, but you will also realize how refreshing change can be. New skills come along with moving as well, like being able to make friends easily, adjust to new situations easily, and be more flexible.
Lastly, realize that nowhere that you end up living will be all-around perfect. Every country, province, city or town has their perks and disadvantages, so make the most of where you currently live. Appreciating what you can about where you live will eliminate the negativity that can come with a move. I know that once I started looking at all the things I could appreciate, I started to feel more at home.
I hope you are now able to start viewing your situation differently. The next steps are to build confidence and relationships by stepping out of your comfort zone and getting involved.
Editor’s Note: Samara Paine is the Pipestone Flyer’s new youth reporter, recently relocated to our fine province. Samara is part of the Flyer’s initiative to provide young people with confidence, transferrable skills and job experience for their future endeavours. Welcome Samara!