• Hanifah Jones

The Honest Truth About Moving During A Pandemic

Happy 2021!

As I reflect on 2020 I realize that my biggest challenge was also my biggest accomplishment: moving to another city during a pandemic (or panorama as the kids say). Moving can be stressful, but doing so while the world is in total chaos is another level.

In case you missed it, I moved to DC back in September. I got a new job in the city right before my old lease was up so the timing seemed perfect. Within a month I was able to find a new apartment and make arrangements for my move.

It’s debatable whether moving during a pandemic is actually cheaper. According to Acorns, rent prices in DC decreased by 11% during COVID. While the drop may not seem significant, it doesn’t account for the discount specials that many buildings are offering. For example, if a building offers you two months of free rent, you can spread that discount out and save a few hundred dollars on your monthly expenses.

Now let’s get to the hot topic:

Many of you read my blog because you enjoy transparency and know that I’m always going to keep it real with you. Making this move was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I’ve always considered myself to be a person who was never afraid to go the distance. I went to undergrad a few hours away from home and studied abroad in Cape Town without feeling an ounce of homesickness. So when it came time to move to a new city where I didn’t have any friends, I thought I would be fine.

I was wrong.

Making friends as an adult is hard enough, but adding social distancing and the threat of a deadly virus to the equation makes things even more difficult. Normally you would find friends by going out, in your apartment building, or at work. With everything shut down, you have to get a little creative.

During my first two months in DC, I relied on social media for things like food recommendations and even finding a dentist. Moving also gave me a chance to connect with mutual friends in the area and get to know them better. I’ve even tried Bumble (yes, that Bumble – but it’s not what you think)! The app has a feature for making friends and I met a few cool people on there.

However, you should always exercise caution and play it safe, especially while there’s a deadly virus continuing to spread like wildfire. I’m pretty much on my own so I avoid as much exposure as I can. I only meet up with people I feel comfortable being around and practice social distancing. DC is known for being a fun place with an amazing brunch scene and I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out. But at the same time, my health is my number one priority.

It may seem cliche but my difficulty building relationships with others inspired me to work on my relationship with myself. There are days where I feel completely overwhelmed and sad, but that’s normal. I’ve learned to give myself grace and acknowledge that my feelings are valid. Every weekend I take the time to do things that I love like reading just for fun and trying new crafts (I’ve been really into embroidery lately). Being able to get to know the city on my own has been an amazing experience. Back when the weather was warmer, I would go on hikes and take walks around my new neighborhood.

When it comes to big changes, it’s important to maintain perspective. I always remind myself about how lost and unfulfilled I felt in my hometown. While I may occasionally feel lonely in DC, my heart feels content. Your mind and soul know when you’re in a place you aren’t meant to be and with any growth, there will be periods of discomfort. What’s important is making sure you have the emotional tools to handle those uncomfortable feelings.

I thought I mastered the art of solitude, but this experience put me in my place. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you need companionship. And there’s nothing wrong with learning to prioritize yourself.

Overall, moving during COVID was a huge risk – but it was worth it. I’ve only been here for a few months and within that time I’ve learned so much about myself. Good things are worth the wait and I know that everything will work out at the end. Making this journey just confirmed that I really can do anything I put my mind to, and so can you!