A year ago at this time, I was facing the biggest adventure of my life (thus far). I was in the process of upending my entire life and leaving behind everything I’d ever known to move across the country. For those of you who have moved around a lot, this is probably no big deal; but you need to understand where I was coming from.
I had lived my entire life in the same city (I won’t say how many years it’s been, but I will say that when I graduated college, neither I nor any of my classmates had cell phones). Anyway, I’ve lived in a few different homes/apartments, but always within a 10-mile radius of my parents’ house and the area I grew up in. Change has always come slowly for me, and I’m very fond of the familiar – even if that familiar is uncomfortable or less than ideal.
I’ve always loved traveling, but the thing about traveling for vacations is that when it’s done, you come back home – home to security and the familiar. Leaving my familiar surroundings to make a permanent move to a place I’ve never been is an entirely different ball game.
When the opportunity presented itself for me to move, I could have said no. Nobody would have judged me; in fact, very few people would have even known that I’d made some sort of a decision at all. I could have stayed in the familiar and gone on with my life.
But instead I said goodbye to my parents and friends, packed up my books and my cat, and left my familiar east coast city for a tiny north-western town that I’d never been to before. And I’m so thankful I did it.
There are a few things that I’ve learned during this past year of this new adventure in my life:
Sometimes the only way to make a change is to make a change
I didn’t hate my city or my job or my life, but for some time, I’d been feeling like I was ready for a change. I wasn’t quite sure what that change might entail, but I was feeling more and more dissatisfied with my life as it was. The thing is, if you want something in your life to change, you have to make a change. A cross-country move isn’t always the solution, though it was for me and my situation. sometimes the change might be as simple as getting up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to meditate or pray, or replacing a daily soda with herbal iced tea. But whatever it is, if you’re wanting something to be different in your life, it’s up to you to make the change.
It’s usually worth it to take a risk in life, but you have to have inner peace
Every success coach will tell you to take risks, but I believe you need to temper these risks with wisdom. Taking risks just for the sake of risk-taking can be, well, risky. It was a risk for me to leave behind my aging parents, my job, and everything familiar to move to a place where I had no job lined up and knew no one. Even though all logic said this was a dumb idea, I had inner peace. I knew deep inside that it was the right thing to do.
It’s important to build your dream
I’d spent several years leading up to this move building and refining my dream. My dream for a home of my own, my dream for what I wanted to do and how I wanted to live my life. Again, I didn’t dislike my life the way it was – but I knew that I wanted more, something different. So I took intentional time over the course of several years to figure out what exactly it was that I wanted. That’s part of why I had inner peace when I decided to move. Despite the apparent illogic of my decision, everything about what I was doing lined up with what I decided that I wanted out of my life. Even though I moved to a town I’d never been to before, I knew enough about what I wanted and why I wanted it to make wise decisions.
I’m stronger than I thought
Having grown up as a homebody, afraid of change, and very attached to my parents, I was terrified by the idea of moving across the country – even after I’d made the decision to move. But I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I thought I was. I’ve missed my parents and my friends, but I haven’t been at all homesick as I was afraid I might be. Of course not everything has been easy-peasy (struggling to find a part-time job, getting lost with no GPS signal, driving mice out of my house, trying to figure out how to get three feet of snow off my roof before the next snowstorm hit, and so on). But I’ve survived, and my confidence has grown stronger with each challenge. Every day is confirmation that I made the right decision.
It’s been one year since I began this adventure, and I’m excited to see where this next year takes me!