Change is the worst. It always has a way of coming in and ruining our lives. It forces us to step out of our happy little comfort zones and do crazy things like “move forward” and “take risks” and “better ourselves as human beings.” What’s so wrong with being comfortable all the time? What’s so bad about seeing the same people and doing the same exact routine every single day?
Oh, what’s that? Everything is wrong with that? Okay. Great.
This year, I moved from the comfortable surroundings of Boston to the scary newness of Los Angeles. I knew it was the right decision, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy one. (“Sometimes the right thing… and the hard thing… are the same thing.” Thanks, Liz Lemon.)
In Boston, I had a job performing several nights a week and teaching comedy when I wasn’t performing. I had every day free to do whatever I wanted (mostly have panic attacks while watching “Cheers” on Netflix.) I lived roughly fifteen minutes from my family and the city I grew up in and literally all of my friends lived in my neighborhood. So, why the hell would I move 3,000 miles away?
Because… I wasn’t happy. Despite all those glorious things, I just wasn’t happy. Every day, I felt anxious and tired and empty. I had achieved my goals in Boston and there was so much more I wanted to cross off my list. Things I couldn’t do in Boston. Even though I’m only 27, I felt like time was running out. I was afraid I’d get stuck in the same trap I had seen other people get stuck in.
Making the decision was the hardest part but as soon as I started sharing the news, it got easier. Some people responded excitedly, some were sad, some were jealous, some were negative… but it didn’t matter, I had made a HUGE decision that would affect the rest of my life. It was going to be hard, weird and terrible at times – but overall, it was going to be good. Even if I failed miserably, I wouldn’t have that “what if?” question in the back of my mind ever again.
When it finally came time to leave, it was sad. I cried a whole lot. The song “Old Apartment” by the Barenaked Ladies was constantly playing in my head everywhere I went. I said goodbye to different things every single day. Goodbye childhood room that my mother turned into a walk-in closet! Goodbye blanketed homeless woman! Goodbye crooked stairwell I used every day that somehow got narrower as it went up! Goodbye everything!
I cried all the way to the airport and then, all of sudden, I was done. As soon as I walked through those doors, I was over saying goodbye. I was done looking back. I was excitedly looking forward to what was in front of me, knowing all those comforts would still be there when I visited.
And then I got to Los Angeles and my best friend picked me up while blasting “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson and there was a welcome party at my friend’s apartment and the weather was nice and palm trees! Sure, they’re dying because of the terrible drought, but PALM TREES!
After a week, it stopped feeling like a weird vacation. It felt normal. I had an apartment, a place to hang my hat – since I don’t need a winter hat anymore – and I woke up every day and went about my day as a resident of L.A. I found a new coffee shop, restaurant, grocery store and liquor store. I even found a new delivery guy to say hello to. Now that I’m on the other side of change, everything doesn’t feel so scary anymore.
What I’m trying to say is this: if you’ve had an idea boiling in your brain or something you’ve wanted to accomplish – why not use this year to make it happen? The hardest part is making the decision and committing to it. Maybe it’s moving across the country or finding another job… or maybe it’s something as simple as starting a new exercise program or learning a new trade. Make the decision. Tell people. And just go for it. You’ll realize that change isn’t nearly as terrifying as the idea of change.