Sadness:
“My dad had problems at work and we had to move.”

Dear Annie,

I thought I had it all, a great (smart) school, a wonderful band program, a bundle of friends, and a guy I really liked. Then my Dad started having problems at his work, so we moved. It's as if my life just melted away. The school is WAY below my expectations, and the band wouldn't pass as a beginning band, let alone an advanced. I keep in touch with my friends, but nothing's the same. I really want to move back, especially after I hear about what a great time they're having down there. I've tried to move on, but I can't, my old town was the only thing I remembered.

Can't Move On

Dear Can't Move On,

Moving to a new place and leaving all that you knew (and enjoyed) is stressful. The fact that your dad was "having problems at his work" also caused stress in the family (and may still be causing stress).

On top of that you probably had no say in whether the family was going to move. And you may also be the kind of person who isn't that crazy about change to begin with. So you're stressed. All of these feelings that "nothing's the same" with your friends, with the band, with your life... are very normal. Not comfortable, necessarily, but very normal, considering what you've been through.

You don't say how long ago you moved, but with some effort and time to adjust and make new friends, get involved in activities that you enjoy, your new community can start to feel like a more comfortable place.

You need to calm down and de-stress (slow deep breathing with your eyes closed will help). When you're feeling calmer, you'll be able to think more clearly. Ask yourself: What do I want? You may think "I want to go back to my old life!" But that's not an option, is it? You are living where you are now, so maybe what you really want is to be comfortable with your new situation. Could you make that a goal?

And if that's the goal, what can you personally do to work toward achieving that goal?

Maybe you could start by consciously choosing to change your attitude that "my life just melted away." It didn't really. Your life morphed into the next chapter. You still have a life, you just have a new life. How about thinking of it as a challenge... Like a blank page that you now get to fill in in new creative ways. Sometimes the upside of moving is that you get to see yourself with limitless possibilities (after all, no one knows you here, so you are less "stuck" in any of the preconceived ideas that your old friends had about you... Just a thought, but it is sometimes liberating to give yourself permission in a totally new setting, to be a new you.)

Here's a web drama that I wrote for my web site.

Each of the 4 characters have just moved to a new school. Maybe reading the story (which unfolds through their journals) will help you think about ways you might resolve your disappointment, etc. about moving.

In friendship,

Annie

Read teen letters about school problems here.

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