Everyone has been asking me why I decided to move to LA and it’s not so easy to put into a single sentence. I’m not one for change. In fact, I have been at the same company, living in the same apartment, with the same (amazing) best friend for the past three years of my life and I have loved every second of it. But there comes a point when you need to start learning to let go because comfort is no longer the goal — the goal is to grow.
I was feeling restless and anxious, like I knew there was something else, something better for me than the life I was living. I visited LA for the first time last year and fell in love with the city immediately. The prettier-than-a-picture scenery, the constant sunshine, the smiles from strangers, the super tasty mojito flavored iced coffee (ok, so that one is just me, not LA in general). Either way, when I was there, I couldn’t believe people lived anywhere else and at that point, I promised myself I would find away to live there — and soon.
Now here I am, a little over a year later, moving to LA. In fact, I’m starting work there tomorrow and to be honest [note: this has been posted a few days after writing it], I don’t quite feel like I’m ready to start this whole new chapter in this seemingly whole new life. The past two weeks in New York City, I was living up every last second that I could, going out every night, seeing every friend, basically staying awake for as long as possible to enjoy every single moment. I wanted to appreciate and love the life I had known so well for the past six years, just a little bit longer.
Once I started appreciating my current life to the extreme, I started getting doubts. I actually didn’t have an appetite all last week from the nerves. When I get anxious about a big change in my life, I lose my appetite. It can last anywhere from a day to months. When my high school boyfriend and I broke up, I didn’t have an appetite for about four months. Great for my appearance, terrible for my body. Sometimes, I don’t even realize I have this anxiety and the only symptom that shows up is a loss of appetite. In fact, the entire summer before I moved to NYC for school after two years at a state school in upstate New York, I had no appetite. I lost a lot of weight and even went to multiple doctors to figure out the reason why I couldn’t eat. Doctors suggested I go as far as having an upper endoscopy exam, which I did even though I was terrified and it’s unusual to perform on someone so young (20), yet nothing was found, except a polyp, which was probably caused by stress. Now I know the source of my stomach issues is anxiety. The thing about it though, is I always find a way to overcome it. I still ended up making the move to NYC and loved every second of it at first, not even realizing that the move was what was causing me such physical issues. After the honeymoon phase of the first month wore off in NYC though, I had rough few lonely months to the point where I wanted to move home because the big change was too much for me. Somehow though I weathered through it and then fell into a great group of friends and that’s what really helped me through and stay and love it.
Fast forward 6 years and here I am, ready to make another huge change. Just like I knew in my bones that moving to NYC was the right thing for me to do (despite my loss of appetite), that is how I felt about LA. I say “felt” because now I’m not so sure. The past week, I have had such great times with my friends and questioned my reason for leaving. Why would I want to leave my best friends and my home and my beautiful apartment and my family? I’ll tell you why. Because I need to grow and my soul knows it.
I was ready to go home Saturday AM, but when my parents called me on Thursday to tell me that my childhood pet, my cat Daisy May was not doing well, I decided to drop everything to come home a day sooner. We already knew she had cancer and wasn’t in the best shape, but she was still holding on just fine for a long time. I already had guilt about leaving her when I went off to college then lived in NYC. Every time I came home, I spent so much time with her. I felt so bad about not being with her more. Some weekends I would even come home just because I knew I needed to see my baby. So when my mom told me she wasn’t eating for days, I panicked and I rushed home on Friday morning instead. I didn’t care what my plans were or who I had to say bye to. I needed to be there with her.
I don’t want to get into the details, especially because thinking about it too hard makes me cry on the spot. But we put her down on Satudsay since she hadn’t eaten in 5 days. I feel extremely guilty about it and can’t stop thinking about it. But you know what I took out of the situation? It was time to close this one chapter of my life. No matter how hard and heartbreaking and painful it was. I didn’t close the chapter because it was something I wanted to do. I closed it because it was something I needed to do. I needed to make sure Daisy didn’t suffer anymore, even though I wanted her there by my side forever. I didn’t want to uproot my life and change it and start over and have to make new friends and a new life for myself just because, I decided to do it because I needed to. I needed to let go of the past and my comfort zone.
So as I sit here on the airplane to LA, yes I am pretty scared. Mostly because I don’t know what to expect, but I also sit here with faith because I know something drew me to this place in my life and the universe made it happen. When you have faith in the universe, true undying faith that things will work out, then they do. Especially if you leave no other option for them not to.
The reason I write this article is not to tell you to go and uproot your life just because, but because I want you to know that you are capable of more than you are doing right now. If you feel that aching for something different, something better, then get up and do it. I know it’s easier said than done, especially since I don’t have a husband and family or mortgage or car payment keeping me where I am, but if you want something bad enough, you will find a way. I hope that you never settle for mediocrity, especially when you know deep inside you were meant for so much more. Even if you are living the “perfect” life at a job, in an apartment and with the same person you have been with for the past three years.
I keep reminding myself that if I let go of what I have that is good, I make room for something even better. That includes the belongings I had. Let me tell you, after living in the same place for years, the amount of just “stuff” you accumulate is disgusting. I am working on living a more minimalistic lifestyle and I had to get rid of a lot of move my stuff home, but I still have so much improvement to do. I listened to the podcast by The Minimalists to encourage and inspire me to let go of my stuff. I have so much stuff that I don’t need, that once I got rid of, felt so much better. I put emotional investment and memories into things, when I know I have the memories even without all of this stuff weighing me down. Not only do I physically hold onto things, but I hold onto people that aren’t serving me in my life, especially love interests that go no where and friendships that are a waste of energy. I think once you start to let go of your physical objects, it becomes easier to let go of your mental burdens as well. And starting over in a new life really helps you to do both.
We are conditioned to crave comfort and try to oppose change and my body especially makes that very clear, but that does not mean change isn’t good for us or what we need. In fact, the upset can even be a good sign that we are doing something so brave to step outside of our comfort zone. Don’t let these scared feelings fool you into thinking you’re doing the wrong thing — as I definitely do say trust your gut in all situations — but your body and mind are really are only reacting naturally to protect you from something that you actually don’t need protection from.
Go forth and live the life of your dreams. Or just mix it up to keep life exciting and remember, nothing in life is permanent. Let go of the past and the the things that don’t add value to your life and I think you’ll feel a lot lighter.