real life

"When I moved cities, I called a friend in tears. She told me about the ‘six month rule’."

My friend sat across from me in the crowded pub as we took in each other’s slightly older faces. It had been about eight years since we had last seen each other.

We’d both moved back to Sydney at the start of the year and it was only now, at the end of August, that we were finally catching up.

“I’m sorry it’s taken so long,” we both blurted out almost immediately, embarrassed that we’d let two thirds of a year pass by since our initial text messages and promises of a catch up.

We really didn’t need to apologise, though. Like me, my friend had changed her whole life this year. We had both made the decision to completely shake up things up and we needed at least six months to truly settle in to our new city, our new jobs, our new apartments, and our new lives – before we could even think about catching up for a sneaky wine.

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It’s the six month rule and it’s something I’m glad a few trusted people in my life warned me about when I first made the move.

At the start of the year, at age 33, I left behind my comfortable – and somewhat boring – life in the country and moved back to Sydney, a city I’d always had a love/hate relationship with. I loved the concept of living in Sydney and hated the reality.

I knew the transition wasn’t going to be easy but I wasn’t prepared for the absolute sh*t fight that was the next few months of my life.

It was hard. Really, bloody hard. There were days when I thought I’d made a massive mistake and that I’d have to return to my regional city and admit to everyone that I just couldn’t hack it. There were other times when I was just so pissed off at myself for not making the move earlier, I thought I’d left my run so late and I’d never catch up to my peers. I was constantly tossing back and forth between fear and guilt, guilt and fear.


There were few public meltdowns and a lot of teary phone calls to old friends. It was during one of those phone calls that one of my closest friends told me about the six month rule. She said it was going to take me at least six months to truly settle into my new life and once I got through that six months I would start to love it.

Whenever I’d speak to friends I’d bring up the six month rule and they all agreed – in six months time I’d feel a whole lot better about things.

So I just decided to trust them. The six month rule made a lot of sense to me and it was just such a relief to be able to put a time limit on my misery. So I made a deal with myself: I would get through to July 16 and then I would see how I was feeling about things.

And I made it. July 16 came and went and I realised things were fine, they were just fine. I wasn’t completely in love with my new life but I also wasn’t waking up in the middle of the night and worrying about everything that could go wrong.

In the past six to eight weeks since my ‘settling in deadline’ has passed, I’ve started to notice a difference in the way I think about my new life. I talk about Sydney like it’s my home, I’ve stopped focusing on getting through the day-to-day stuff and I’ve started making plans for the future.

And, most importantly, I’ve started to feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

Have you recently moved cities? How long did it take you to settle in? 

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