One of the things that I remember my mom telling me was “If you can learn to be by yourself, you will never feel alone.” Never has this bit of advice been more relevant to me than in the last month since I’ve moved here.
Even before I made my move, I knew that I wouldn’t know anybody here in St Louis. But the one thing I didn’t realise was how difficult it would be to meet people either. When looking for an apartment, I decided to live by myself (at least initially) because some past experiences have taught me not to live with people I didn’t know. People at work are friendly, but everyone has their own families and social circles that makes it a little harder to find time or opportunities to socialise.
So in the past month I’ve been learning to live by myself. It does get a little lonely at times, but the one thing I’ve told myself from the beginning was that I wouldn’t let not having company stop me from going out to experience new things. Life is an adventure that only happens once and you can either sit around waiting for things to happen, or go out and grab it by the proverbial horns.
But don’t think that I haven’t been a little intimidated. Yes I admit that the fear of not knowing where anything was did initially cause me to hesitate, but sometimes you have to put your feet one in front of the other and just step out. The more I’ve done it, the more I felt like I could cope with this new life and this new city. Looking back, if I had just been waiting for company, I would never have gone to see the Symphony at the Park or the Greek Festival or even just down to the gym and my life would have been far the less for it!
So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, let me pass on a little advice of my own:
- Never underestimate the power of Google. In the time I have been here, I have been dependent on Google Maps for directions (their public transit option is very accurate these days), as well as searching for services I needed. For example, when I was looking for a bed I googled “Cheap furniture near (my address)” and found a local store.
- You can look for community events by Google-ing. I found out about the Symphony by googling “Things to do in St Louis“. Other good places to meet people are local clubs, churches, your work/school.
- You can use things like finding out how to get to the grocery store into an adventure by exploring new neighbourhoods. There’s a small caveat to this: be sure to ask around about the places you want to avoid because some places are just much less safer than others.
- Never be afraid to ask for directions. I found that people were generally friendlier than I gave them credit for at first and usually willing to help.
- To get friends, first be a friend. I can’t remember who gave me this bit of advice, but it’s true. If you want company for dinner, ask people over. If you want people to hang out with, first invite them. I’m waiting till next week when I get a table, then I’m going to start having people over for dinner!
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru