Packing all of your belongings and moving—whether it be up the street, across the state or across the nation—can be extremely difficult, physically and emotionally. But from my travels through 5 different states (6 in September), and a million cities, or so it feels like, I have learned so many valuable lessons. No, I may not have realized these things when I moved for the first time at age one, but I have been able to piece these lessons together through the reflection of the memories I have from each and every place I've been. Here are 5 of the most important to me:
1. Meeting new people and doing new things is not all that bad.
I have memories scattered in my mind from all different homes and cities at random points in my life. I remember running across the huge opening in our Illinois apartment complex to my best friend's house, and being there the first time I ever heard the Alicia Keys song, "If I ain't got you." I remember getting my first pair of Heely's and riding down the street of our Coconut Creek apartment complex with my newest neighbor Leecy in the second grade.
I remember becoming best friends with a rival soccer team's goalie and the hilarious adventures we had in Ms. Young's 4th-grade class. I remember moving right before 5th grade, and as soon as we started in our new school, being tested for a "gifted" program that would give me so many opportunities that I wouldn't have had otherwise.
I remember being the first one to talk to the "new kids" from Ohio in the 9th grade, telling them that I knew exactly how they felt and that I would be happy to be their friend and show them around. I remember moving closer to some of my best friends in high school and how that changed our dynamic as a friend group so positively. I remember moving into my college dorm in my new college town—Miami—with 4 other freshman soccer players and what an emotional rollercoaster that was for me, and how saying yes to joining the team changed my life.
And I now have amazing friends and memories with people who I will only have this one summer with, in the beautiful Tennessee valleys. And one day I will look back on the karaoke nights and the sunsets on the hill and be filled with happiness, and an overwhelming sense of gratefulness.
So many of the amazing people I have met in my life came completely by chance, thanks to my ever-changing zipcode.
2. Being open to new opportunities is imperative.
These people who are in my life because of my growing travel record are some of the most important people in my life. And they are all in my heart because of my family's openness to change and opportunity. Each move has been for the betterment of our family; with each promotion my mother procures, a new state is added to our list of past homes. But each of these moves has been due to my parent's ability to take a chance on the "new." The new state, the new position, the new home. And for that I am grateful.
I will always remember how different each transition was for my parents. How each time they said yes, they were able to grow and achieve so much more than they believed. I can now see how moving from city to city and starting new so many times took their openness to opportunity as well. It has allowed me to see what saying yes can really do. And so, I am following in their footsteps and have said yes to a completely new opportunity in a brand new place, where I will build a new life—and continue to say yes to new opportunities and to take chances.
3. You can be whoever you want—at ANY time.
My name is Taylor Nichole Malone, I am 21-years old and a twin. Those, amongst a few others, are facts that I cannot change. However, the rest of who I am or choose to be can be fluid and change at any moment. This is something that I have learned through the constant moving—you are able to reinvent yourself at any moment. I learned that by continuously being "the new kid." No one knew who I was, so I could be whoever I wanted. Yes, I generally used my moves to new places or schools to become a new version of me, but I have come to realize that I don't need a new city to be a new me.
I can wake up tomorrow and decide that I want to be different from who I was yesterday. Change is necessary for growth and evolution, and I have come to understand that I can be whoever I want—I can choose to be kinder, happier, sassier, and anything in the middle. I can choose to open myself up to new experiences and let go of the fears I had yesterday. Or I can close myself off. I can be whoever and whatever I want to be, and so can you. And that is a lesson I'll always carry in my heart.
4. You can find happiness alone.
Reflecting on my past, I don't feel like I ever really had one specific home. I feel like I never really found my place—I hope that this next big move will reveal to me where I belong, fingers crossed. With that, I never really found my "people" either. In high school, I had a group of friends, but there was constant drama and we were always on and off. Before high school, I don't really remember having constant friends except for in kindergarten. I don't have those "we've known each other since birth" friends and I obviously never will. And that used to bother me so much; I always felt out of place, and that was intensified by moving and switching schools and remaking friends each time. Even leaving college, I didn't walk away with many people by my side.
But this has taught me a valuable lesson. You don't need to be surrounded by people to be happy. You can go for a coffee or a drive or a movie all by yourself, and enjoy it just the same. If I had been surrounded by friends that were always by my side, and if I lived in the same house my whole life with the same neighbors and street signs to walk by every day, I wouldn't know what being alone felt like. I wouldn't know that some of my happiest days would consist of me in a bookstore, sipping on a macchiato and browsing the bargain books all alone. Or watching the moon sitting in the middle of a dark soccer field after a hard run.
Had I not always been moving from place to place, being ripped from my comfort zone what felt like continuously, and migrating from friend group to friend group, I would have never been able to realize how to be alone and be happy simultaneously.
5. Real love will follow you wherever you end up.
While this one is a major cliche, it is also a great truth. When you move from place to place, those who care for you will follow. Their love will be with you always, their concern will never cease, and the fun you have will continue. Whether it was moving from Illinois to Florida, or Coral Springs to Miami, or Deerfield Beach to Chattanooga, I still have connections to those who I truly cared about. From one of my best friends in K-2, to my neighbor and his two bothers that I still talk to through Facebook and Instagram, to my best friend from college and my mentor, who I still call and exchange texts and FaceTime calls with.
The people who have impacted my life the most throughout my moves still impact me daily. Whether it's tagging me in relatable and silly GIFs on Facebook, or calling me to talk about the questionable life choices of our old classmates, or a FaceTime to comfort me through a deep bout of depression and negativity. The people who love you will find ways to be there for you even if they can't be right next to you.
In my next chapter of life, in my move to Boston, I do not expect every person I love to make time to fly up and visit me in my new town. But I know a few still will. I don't expect a text every day and reminders that they care about me. But I know the people closest to me will still follow up. I don't expect anything from anyone, but I know that the people who care most about me will continue to find ways to make their love reach me, and I will find ways to send mine their way as well.
Moving is scary and hard. It can be inconvenient and sad, through childhood and adulthood the same. But I am grateful for every box I have had to fill, tape and lug down to the moving truck. Every living room and bedroom I was able to decorate with my family. Every long drive spent listening to music that was too loud and seats that were so uncomfortable. And every person I met along the way.
Until next week friends!
- What's it like being the 'new kid' at school? - CBBC - BBC ›
- Point of View: Being the New Kid | Worksheet | Education.com ›
- How Have You Handled Being the 'New Kid'? - The New York Times ›
- What is it like being the new kid at school? - Quora ›
- 10 Things I've Learned From Being the New Kid in High School ... ›