Living Alone in a New City
Transformation Magazine|August 2016

If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older. —Tom Stoppard

Rebecca A. Watson

When I was little I’d lay in bed at night and dream about what it would be like to start over. I would move somewhere and no one would know who I was. I’d be living alone and in peace.

In this fantasy I was always the new girl at school. I was quiet and most people just left me alone. I didn’t have a lot of friends, but I wasn’t a complete loner either. To me, this sounded like paradise.

In my late twenties I got to realize my fantasy, moving across the continent alone where I knew no one and could be exactly who I wanted to be, without all the drama that came from years of living in one place. After more than three years of living out my childhood dream, I’ve come to a few lessons that, although they might seem simple or obvious, are profound and have forever changed me.

1. You Can’t Run Away from Yourself

I’m sure my therapist would have plenty to say about why I had this fantasy as a child, but things are different now that I’m an adult, right? Not really. Instead of living in a home I didn’t feel safe in, I now carried that home around with me. I lived in a body I didn’t feel safe in. And it didn’t matter how far away I ran, those demons would still be there.

An old friend of mine who spent time in rehab told me how she moved to another state thinking it would solve her alcohol problem. Turns out this is a common belief, and I think it extends to more than just substance abuse.

In order for my childhood dream to come true, in order for me to be exactly who I wanted to be without drama and expectations of others, I needed to deal with the drama and expectations I carried inside me. Only then can I truly just be me.

2. Friends are More Precious than Gold

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