Moving is exciting, but also bittersweet when you’re leaving behind a city and life you know and love. Making time for a proper farewell will help you find closure and pave the way for your upcoming adventure.
Before your going away party, be sure to check off these six things off your bucket list:
1. Take a Farewell Tour of Your City.
Go around to all the places you’ve known and loved—from the spot where you had your first date with your spouse to the coolest local landmark. When Talia Mariani moved from New York City to Los Angeles in 2017, she took a whole week for her farewell tour.
“I knew in order to say a proper goodbye to a city such as New York, I needed a full week of celebration,” says Mariani, who blogs about travel and other topics.
She went to the Brooklyn Bridge to admire the view, stopped at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to mentally replay her favorite scenes from “When Harry Met Sally” and went to Levain Bakery where she ate a “chewy, delicious cookie.”
“Taking a week to savor memories,” she said, “allowed me to turn a heart wrenching goodbye into a beautiful and poetic ‘see you later.’”
2. Meet Friends at Favorite Hangouts.
You need to say farewell to your friends, so why not meet each one at a meaningful spot—a favorite watering hole or a legendary local BBQ joint or your favorite dog park. During her goodbye tour, Mariani invited her friends to meet her at some of her favorite eateries. Or, you can gather everyone at your place for a “house leaving party.”
3. Do New Things You Never Had Time For.
When you think you’ll live somewhere forever, it’s easy to put off doing the local touristy stuff. But if you don’t check off local bucket-list items before you go, you might leave with regrets.
For example, technology product manager Ayo Sopitan had lamented missing some sights when he left previous cities. So, he and his family made sure to do “touristy things” before a recent move from London to New York.
“We walked with the tourists in Oxford and Piccadilly Circus, visited Arsenal Stadium and the O2 Center, took the Emirates sky car,” he said.
4. Reminisce About the Good Times.
Take some time to walk through your home and reminisce, alone or with your family. Snap photos or record your conversation on audio or video to preserve the memories. Right before psychotherapist and meditation teacher Jan Bidwell left a home she loved in Mahwah, NJ, she took a nostalgic walk through the lilies, jasmine, lilac, hydrangea and peonies in her gardens.
“My son and I used to lie there and look at the clouds, finding dragons and puppies and mountains in them,” she said.
She sat one more time in the hammock strung between two trees.
“I loved looking up in the sky through the trees, and that was the last thing I did before I walked out of the house for the last time,” she said.
5. Leave a Goodbye Message.
This is great for anyone, but can be especially fun for kids. Write out a message about the day you moved in, your life in the house or the things you’ll miss about the place. Then tuck it into a crack, stick it in a wall or stuff it in a bottle and bury it outside. Don’t include anything too personal—someone might find it your note someday, which is part of the fun.
6. Take a Special Item From Your Home.
Pick something that’s meaningful to you, like a wind chime you listen to every day, a little piece of garden art you love. You can place the item in your new home for continuity and a reminder of the good times in the past. If you’re selling your home, just make sure the item you take is not something the new buyers can reasonably expect to stay, like the beautiful antique doorknobs or vintage light fixture that charmed them into buying the house.
Not sure? Check this list from Realtor.com of what stays with a house. Once you’ve chosen an item, pack it early before the chaos of moving day.
These rituals might give you the ending that will allow you to happily open a new chapter, as it did for Bidwell. She said: “Closure allowed me to honor the memories without having them interfere with my enjoyment of my new life.”