Moving places and changing worlds

My life has changed by leaps and bounds whenever I have moved to a new city. 

Someone wise has said that “Growth and comfort cannot co-exist”

A home is a place where you are the most comfortable. But to make progress in life you have to get out of your comfort zone. For me to grow, I turned over a new leaf when I moved out of my home.

I have moved my home 3 times in my 27 years on this planet. The first one was 6 years ago, in August 2016. I traveled across the globe from Pune, India, and moved to Ames, Iowa to start my master’s program at Iowa State University. The second move was when I got my job in the middle of cornfields in rural southwest Iowa. The recent one was in early 2022 when I moved to Delaware for my new job.

Move 1

I flew to the US from Mumbai airport and my family came to drop me off. I was full of giddy excitement to start a new chapter of my life. My flight took off and the city lights below faded into darkness. After the in-flight meals when I settled in, my initial excitement simmered down.

And I realized that my cellphone was not going to catch the home signal again for a long time now. Skype and Facetime were going to be the only connection with family back home. At that moment, my 21-year-old brain finally understood the reason why tears are shed when we say goodbye.

I lived with my parents till I was 21. When I decided to move to the US for education I wasn’t prepared for all the challenges that came my way. I had to adapt and learn to survive in the new environment. From transportation, to cooking, to paying bills and finding a place to live, everything was new for me. Although the adjustment was tough, I am glad that I made the move because it changed my life for the better.

I became more independent, I had to manage my time and resources more efficiently and I had to communicate with people from all walks of life. All these skills will stay with me for the rest of my life. Iowa is where I started adulting.

Move 2

After my graduation, I got my first real job. I moved to Clarinda, a small town in the southwest corner of Iowa. Even though work was great, life in rural Iowa was tough.

At work, everyday was a new challenge and I loved it. As a fresh engineer straight out of college, I was assigned simple tasks for machine improvement. I was not familiar with machine design, but I was able to quickly learn it and develop new ideas. I got my hands dirty to troubleshoot the machines to make those improvements and learned about the process everyday.

Later, I was tasked with complex machine improvements that needed me to apply my process knowledge. I was also able to work on scrap reduction projects. These were time sensitive and I learned to deliver them on time. I was proud to be able to contribute to the success of the team. The work was great. My colleagues were some of the nicest people I know. They welcomed me with open arms.

But life during this time was on the tougher side. My close friends lived 3 hours away from me, family was several hour flights away, and there were not a lot of activities to do around the farms. Most young people I knew dove into the local bar after work and would drink the night away. I did that a couple of times but I couldn’t do it every weekend. It just wasn’t fun for me.

Iowa winters were especially tough with gloomy cold weather all throughout. During my 3 years there, there were weekends when I couldn’t go anywhere because of the snowy weather. I would get into my apartment on a Friday night and get out only the next Monday morning to go to work. I would spend 2 full days staring at either the TV screen or the phone screen.

After a while, it gets to you. That is when I realized that I needed to make a move.

Move 3

I moved to Delaware for my new job and life turned over a new leaf.

I have switched roles, my close friends live 20 minutes from me, and my family lives within driving distance. The best of it all, there are two major cities close to me, Washington DC and Philadelphia. They both host the official fan clubs of the Manchester United football club.

My new job has been challenging as I have entered a different industry than my previous one. But it has been a learning experience from day one. I am excited to see what the future holds for me in this new career.

Back when I was in Iowa, all my favorite artists would have shows in cities that were a solid 7-8 hr drive from me. After I moved to Delaware, I’ve seen Sigrid perform on the “How to Let Go” tour in Philadelphia, watched Andrew Schulz’s “Infamous” tour in New York, and almost saw Billie Eilish’s at the “Happier Than Ever” tour. I love the opportunity to watch my favorite musicians and stand-up comics live because of my proximity to the big cities. 

I’ve also been to all the tourist spots in New York, TWICE in my first five months. I’m sick of it now.

Life in Delaware has been about people. And when you have people around, there are tons of activities to do on the weekend. All my weekends are spent with friends hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter, or visiting family. The amount of outdoor activities and social events I’ve been to in my 9 months here is greater than all of them in 3 years in Clarinda.

As I have settled into my new life, I have rolled back on the activities as they can get expensive pretty fast. But I like that I have the option to go out whenever I want.

I miss my calm life in Iowa but I am embracing the new one.

My first move was like a bird flying out of the nest. My second move was about getting that first real job and starting my adulting phase. My third move was about evolving as an engineer and moving closer to my people.

I am grateful for the privilege and the opportunities that came my way to be able to experience these new emotions and feelings in my 20s. And even though at times it was tough, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Because I know that each and every experience has made me who I am today.

PS: Parts of this essay are written using an AI tool. How cool is that.

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