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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

Lets-Panic.com → 

« Yesterday--when all my troubles seemed right in my lap. | Main | My sweaty, stealthy napper. »
Tuesday
Jun062006

Today.

I’m so, so sad, and all I do is cry. I miss Brooklyn. I miss everything about it. I want my friends here. I miss my mom being able to come over for the afternoon and drive me nuts. I miss the noise. I miss sitting outside on my stoop with Henry when there was nothing to do and Henry calling out “Good evening, madam” at everyone who walked by. I miss walking across the street to buy my groceries and the store manager shouting “My friend!” when Henry came into his sight. I miss walking down the street for an iced coffee. I miss not feeling lonely and pathetic; I miss my life. I want this to get better, but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to make it any better. I just want to feel better.

Reader Comments (130)

I'm de-lurking to say how sorry I am that you're going through this. I know others have offered similar insights, but we moved to the burbs from a happening, funky, so friendly city to the sterility of the the suburban south. Ugh. It took me over a year to adapt and I spent many days weepy and frustrated. We also only had ONE car, so I was often left to wander the suburban streets with my then 15 month old son...not good days.

Hang in there...it will get betterm though. I've adapted to the suburbs, but I'm also a little sad that I've adapted--know what I mean?
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAliki
I heard and interview on NPR yesterday with a super-smart Harvard guy who wrote a book called "Stumbling on Happiness." It's kind of a sociological-psychological examination of happiness (not a self-help book or anything.) Anyway, he said he discovered that humans are absolutely horrible at predicting what will make them happy and, really, even worse at predicting what will make them unhappy. So while you may have predicted that moving would make you happy and right now it seems like you were wrong, there is no way to predict what will make you happy later. Maybe it will be having a yard and a house and quiet.

Any way it works out, I wish a lot of future happines for you.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchristy
Delurking here to say that years and years and YEARS ago, when I was just about your age, I moved alone from all that I held dear to Florida, a state I've always hated. (Santa? His sleigh is pulled by eight tiny alligators in Florida.)

To help me adjust, a good friend gave me a homework assignment and because I was always a dutiful person, I did it. Each day, I was to find one thing I liked about Florida and write it down. At the end a week, I was to mail the list to him and start a new one.

Once, the sole thing I could find to list was that my apartment was only three blocks from the freeway entrance that would take me North toward home again. But having to search for things to like and list gradually changed my attitude, and six months later (though I never learned to love Florida -- Santa also wears loud bermuda shorts with a fur-trimmed jacket; how tacky is that?), the ache of homesickness had gone.

You strike me as a dutiful person. Go do your homework and each week let us know what you've found to like about Jersey.

(And about the sleepy heavy sweaters? You've just described my 64-year-old husband! Sorry, ladies!)
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn
I'm so sorry you're sad. Loneliness sucks eggs.

Do you bake? If you bake your neighbors cookies it might make you feel better. DO they do things like that in Jersey?
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSheryl
I'm so sorry. I've made so many huge decisions that I've regretted ... at least momentarily ... and it is a terrible, terrible feeling.

Living in the suburbs can be very isolating. I hope you'll find a nice cafe and a good park and maybe a rec center ... all those are good places to meet new moms. I know, it's not the same as your old friends.

One thing I suggest is: trust yourself. Trust your initial reasons for moving. You will second-guess, second-guess, second-guess, but you made the choice to move, and you should trust that you had real, good reasons for the move. Right now you're probably telling yourself that you made the decision w/o really understanding the choice. But you still don't really understand the choice: it's too early. Trust.

And? You are not trapped. Tell yourself it is only for 18 months, for instance. Get your house unpacked, do stuff to improve it, get it ready for selling at a profit. It will give you a sense of purpose regarding the house (I am quite sure you have a sense of purpose in other ways, ha) and at the end you will either have a house ready to get top dollar, or a really perfect, Alicified place to live.

Finally, can you take the train into the city? Maybe enjoy some of the things you miss, and rediscover some of the reasons you moved? Maybe institute one night of the week where you and H spend the night with your mom?

Mostly, trust yourself. When you're smart and emotional, you are super aware of all the million of pathways your life COULD take. But this is the one you chose, so just go with it for a little while. It isn't forever (unless you want it to be). You can always take another path later.

I know, this is a bunch of advice you didn't ask for. But it's hard to resist: we want you to feel better!

It will be okay.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjulia
Sooo sorry you're sad. It's really hard - I've been there. Hopefully you'll connect with a new friend or two soon and things will start looking up. In the meantime, look at that grout!
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJanis
Think of your new home & town as a type of Peace Corps assignment. At first it seems freaky and overwhelming, and then gradually time rolls out the wrinkles. Just when you turn the year mark, you will feel so psyched that you now have more to talk about than just Life In Brooklyn.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterErin
I'm sorry Alice! I hate that just-moved-in period where you don't know anyone and aren't comfortable and just want to go back home. *hugs*
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaylabean
I'm so sorry. It'll get better! Hang in there. Once you've had a chance to explore, you'll feel more at home. It'll be ok. Don't worry.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterViolet
Okay--I'm keeping my mouth shut. But if you ever want to email with someone who made the move and then moved back, you know where to find me
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjlix
I know exactly how you feel. I have no advice, no help, no nothing to offer you. But I know exactly how you feel.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNorthern_Girl
Okay, buck up. I feel like you need a good shake. It definitely takes time to adjust to a new home and find new friends (and believe me, I know what it's like to be shy). Just remember how lucky you are -- you've got a great new house, a great hubby, and an incredible kid. I have a feeling you're just a sentimental gal (like myself) and need some time for wallowing, so I say, go ahead and let yourself wallow... but then knock it off. Count your blessing, gather up your strength, and get out of your house and go exploring. This is a new chapter in your life. EMBRACE IT.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSallyman
All I can say is, RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. Just think of it as culture shock. When you go to a new country, they say it takes about three months for it all to wear off. So there's really nothing that can be done but trying to get through every day and putting down (baby) roots where you're at. Feel free to vent and feel down in the meantime - it's a big change and really difficult to do.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHer Ladyship
It is very tough to meet people in a new town before you get tied into the school. Come by for coffee and I'll invite some of the neighborhood over. I live on Linden Ave, the house with the volleyball/badmitten net in the front yard, the pig by the lightpost and the sunflower on the purple door.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteranne
Okay, I just looked at the flickr pictures of your new house. And a) I feel stupid suggesting you pour some energy into making your house really great, and b) I'm thinking that you're serious about being sad, because that is the nicest, most sun-filled house I have seen in about 600 years.

When I said "It will be okay," I meant it rather philosophically. But now I mean it practically. You have two sun rooms! It will be okay.

I know, it's not the house that matters ... it's the people who are missing from your life, from your mom to the grocer. But like everyone's saying, after a short bit when you meet some more people (and you will, if you get out there), things will look better. As a perfect stranger I am almost 90% sure of this. Two sun rooms! Parquet floors! Double-hung windows! No rats! No stank!

June 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjulia
I'm so sorry you're blue. I can tell you, having moved over 20 times in my life, ten as an adult, and preparing to move again, it will get better.Soon you will find a groove in your new life and you'll discover little things that you love about it.It sucks at first, big change like that is really hard. But you'll get there, I promise.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTB
Alice, I moved around a lot growing up. It's hard and it takes awhile, but everything will get better. The sun will come out. Remember that. Your home looks great. Go out and meet people if you haven't already; it's all about friends! Keep your chin up.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Sorry you're sad... if I was your friend I'd offer you a hug, but since you don't know me from Eve, I'll just offer a cyber-hug:((((Alice))))It'll get better.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMelanieinOrygun
You'll be okay - just remember that it is normal to mourn a loss. You lost something you loved, so you can't expect to love the replacement right away, know what I mean?
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnnMarie
Whenever I'm feeling sad, I count my blessings. If nothing else, it helps your brain take the focus off whatever you're sad about. In your case, instead of counting blessings or maybe after you count blessings, maybe you count the reasons you moved away from the city in the first place. You did have reasons, right? Good reasons? I seem to recall you did, but now I can't remember them. Good thing you listed them in your blog! All you have to do is go back to those entries where you were so excited about moving because of the many good reasons you had to move and how much better it would be. Try to recapture the feeling of excitement and anticipation about how much better it would be. Maybe that will help you not feel sad.

Some amount of homesickness is inevitable, though. When I moved from Virginia to Texas, occasionally throughout the first year I lived here I would have homesick panic attacks. I'd be out driving somewhere and suddenly think, "Oh, my God, I've got to get home!"

I'd also resent the hell out of not knowing where anything was... like I needed to find a tailor to alter a bridesmaid dress and all I could think of was the one in my old city (that I knew and trusted) and how I'd have to just open the phone book to find a new one in the new city and that just cheesed me off no end.

It'll take a while to feel at home there, sorry to say. But everyday it will get better and you'll find new great things about where you are now. In the meantime, you've got an awful lot of people here who care about you and support you.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTitanKT
Ditto. Only I'm the opposite - from country to city and I really do miss my old life.You've gotten so many great comments and isn't great to know that you will always have people to commiserate with you? Like me... I feel your pain.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterElleana
I think there must be such a thing as post-moving depression. There's so much to be done to plan the move; you're excited about all the new opportunities that seem to be opening up before you. Then the move happens, you get unpacked and you find yourself singing "Is That All There Is?". Don't feel bad for feeling bad. Just do a little something everyday that makes you happy. Get to know your new neighborhood. And relish your family. I bet it'll be alright in the end. It usually is.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdmcco01
Chiming in with the millions of others who adore youOh Sweetpea! I am so with you. We moved to OR from CA 3 yrs ago and I am still so homesick. It is better, it gets better. I know you know, but wow change sucks.

June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDeb
The other day, I was driving home from work and I just exploded into a bundle of uncontrollable sobs so hard I could barely see, so I pulled over.

New places are so, so hard, especially when they are so starkly different from the ones we left. It doesn't help to hear that you're not alone, unless those people are IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD AND CAN BE YOUR FRIEND like NOW, I know. I moved from Boston to a very conservative part of Florida, and had an overwhelming urge to get 11 tattoos, blue hair and start blasting old Cure albums at top volume just to shake these people up.

It's hard. I know. It's so hard sometimes. It will get better - it will. This is one of those shitty, annoying things that nothing but time can heal.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjonniker
I felt like that just changing jobs. Took about 6 months to stop missing the old place, even though there were so many good reasons to make the change. I still miss it a little bit from time to time.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSusan @ YOW

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