In case it wasn’t obvious from my last post about driving across the country, I have left Staten Island and the New York City area to move elsewhere. Specifically, California and the Bay Area. But today’s post is not about my reasons for doing so; I’ve been in the Golden State for about 3 weeks now, and experienced a psychological phenomenon I feel is worth sharing.
(No, it’s not “unspeakable joy” but that’s a good guess.)
I have no idea what the scientific term for it is, but I’ll refer to it as “Atmospheric Reentry” because that’s what it reminds me most of. Atmospheric Reentry. You people know what that is, right? It’s when a spacecraft enters the earth’s atmosphere and because of the ship’s speed and the friction of passing through the atmosphere’s gases it starts burning up. It’s also why a meteorite deteriorates a great deal on its way from outer space to a park somewhere in Middle America.
And in many ways that’s how I felt during my first week or so in my new state. I was away from my family and friends, away from my home, and away from my normal routine. I was waking up in a new environment every day, and my brain was going through a change as well.
(Mafia and gypsy culture out, hippie and tech bro culture in.)
Gone were the familiar and therefore comfortable neural pathways it tapped into every day. Now it had to construct new pathways, a painful process that caused it to waste energy exerting itself. And like an addict suffering withdrawal from the comfort and stability of where I’d left, I fought against my brain and its need for the familiar.
But I knew it’d pass. Just like a spaceship entering the atmosphere I had to wait out the burn of entry and if I could make it intact I’d be on the other side safely. And I had the confidence because I’ve been in similar situations before: starting new jobs, living in other places for brief periods (like Las Vegas and Spain), and graduating from school. Basically, whenever I had gotten used to a certain routine or way of living for an extended period of time, and a change occurred, I would suffer the pain of “Atmospheric Reentry,” and in my experience it lasts a solid week. Two tops.
(I know, I know. It’s been weeks since you had NYC pizza and you’re about to snap, but keep it together. You’re stronger than your addiction!)
And now I’m here, a few weeks later, feeling much more comfortable. The first few days in California I was amazed at how awful I felt, thinking, “I’m in this beautiful environment, with lots of wonderful people, and the possibilities are endless. Yet I can’t enjoy it!”
But because I was aware of the pain my brain was experiencing as it adjusted and settled in, I knew I had to be strong, but I also knew I needed support. So every day I called people. I called my family, obviously, but I also called friends who lived in cities different from their parents, to get their perspective and support. And it worked!
(“Gee, I wonder who’s calling at this hour?”)
I’ll end today’s short post with a final, honest thought: I’m tired of moving. When I think back to my twenties (even though they’re not over yet) I realize how grateful I am for the opportunity to catch up on all the traveling I didn’t get the chance to enjoy growing up. However, I feel I’ve gotten my fill of “adventure” at this point, and want to settle down in a place I can call home, and stop always looking to move elsewhere.
Ideally, everything will work out and I stay put, because at this point, the only way I can see myself moving again would be due to an outside influence. Like, say I got married and my wife wanted to move back to her home state for a job or something. Or one of my parents got sick and needed tending to. Okay, knowing them that’s unlikely but you get my point.
That’s all for today. Be sure to SUBSCRIBE by email so you don’t miss a post, and if you’d like to share your experiences moving somewhere new, I welcome you to post a COMMENT below.
Thanks for stopping by,
J. F. Seegitz
P.S. Here’s a photo of what “Atmospheric Reentry” looks like in case you’re unfamiliar and don’t want to hit up the Google: