I moved clear across the country from a city I thought I would remain in for life. In Atlanta, GA, I experienced everything from a couple of great loves to traumatic breakups, fancy parties, hiking on weekends, spontaneous adventures with friends, and had the convenience of family and friends being close by. Being there was a merry-go-round of memories that I took pride in having around me.
Convenience. That’s really the word that sticks out in this story. When we think of that word, we generally think that’s what we want and how we want to live our lives, conveniently. In this city I called home for years, I didn’t need to go out and make new friends. I didn’t need to put myself out there, be vulnerable, ponder the unknown. Every day was predictable and I was set in my routines and relationships. I could navigate the city with my eyes closed.
It wasn’t until I became unhappy in my job that the thought of moving crossed my mind. The first city that came to mind was New York, and to this day I don’t actually know why. I never had a desire to live there, even though I had visited friends there several times over the years. Before I knew it, I was interviewing for positions there, and a week later accepted a position. Up until that phone call, I kept thinking to myself “I won’t actually move there, but why not interview?” Also, I always thought of myself as “socially awkward” and was terrified at the thought of having to make new friends as an adult. But something about that phone call was life-changing. I knew I was being offered something that was once in a lifetime. I already knew I would regret never taking it, so I couldn’t say no.
I still wrestled the decision, second guessed it for a couple of weeks until one night I had a vivid dream. In this dream, a faceless person told me I was staying in Atlanta and would not able to move to NYC for no specific reason. I had a full on panic attack and woke up hoping it was a dream, still half asleep. In that moment, I knew what I had felt in Atlanta was never happiness, it was comfort. And comfort and happiness are two very different things.
So without a second thought, when my contract was over, I took the leap. It was inconvenient, scary, expensive, and I risked everything. I left my job, friends, family, and even my dog. (She now lives with her grandparents.) I still can’t quite describe the feeling of being on that one-way flight to New York with only two suitcases, not having a clue if I was making the right choice. But if I was to pick one word, it would be “alive.” I left everything behind that was familiar. It was being a video game character and rebuilding myself from scratch.
I also felt completely naked, for lack of a better word. I was doing something that took courage. And I knew the job I was in wasn’t going to get better, and even though I didn’t know what my new job had in store for me, that was just it. I didn’t know, which means there was a chance for greater happiness. To get there, I had to be afraid. I had to dive into the unknown head first. My friends, I am here to tell you today, that the only terrifying thought I have now is, “wow.. what if I would have never come here? I wouldn’t have known that so much fulfillment and happiness could exist for me.”
In my job, I am making a positive impact on my community. I am set up for success, I am supported, and making a bigger salary is only a plus. I didn’t just make one or two new friends. I made tons. I met people from all over, people who were new and vulnerable just like me, people I now travel and go on adventures with. I am truly the happiest I have ever been in my life. I even inspired a friend to follow in the path I trail-blazed, who is now one of my roommates. I found out, I’m not socially awkward at all, I am actually really great at making connections. My dating life even got 10 times better.
I just have two thoughts to say about this. I worked very hard in Atlanta. I worked hard at maintaining friendships I was growing out of. I worked hard at pretending there was more excitement there than I needed there to be. I worked hard at my job, and that was what paid off. It all filtered into my destiny, which happened to be clear across the country. So, my friends, I hope that you are able to recognize when it’s your moment to take that leap. I hope you go for it like a fool. I hope you commit to being afraid. If it makes you uncomfortable, it just might save you, and lift you up to a level of happiness that you only thought existed in movies.