Far too often, we as humans settle. We settle into the comfort of our friendships, work, and relationships, where we live, or who we are - postponing our ambitions and dreams because we are content with our routine. We become blind to our true potential as we blend into our every day surroundings. Change becomes stagnant.
I never realized how poisonous this can be.
Six months ago, I made one of the most fearful and spontaneous decisions I have ever made in my life. With a car full of suitcases and an ambitious dream, I drove cross-country from Atlanta to Los Angeles. I had no job, no plan. Just a friend's mattress to sleep on and one interview.
Taking this chance was anything but easy. I was the world's biggest homebody who lived life based off a timeline. My agenda decided my life for me. My plans said that I was never going to move anywhere outside of Georgia. I was going to land my "dream" job and move to downtown Atlanta post graduation because my plans said so. Wrong. I ended up getting rejected from an entertainment company I longed to work for and my dreams of becoming a television producer had shattered to pieces. I started working small jobs trying to make the most out of it, but I was not happy.
I started to feel like a failure. I had just graduated from one of the best journalism schools in the country and I had yet to prove myself successful. Four years of hard work felt like the biggest waste of time. I was struggling to find a job and was losing self-confidence every day.
I had to accept reality: Atlanta had nothing to offer me, or not yet at least. I started looking at opportunities outside of Georgia. What was the closest city to home that could provide the best opportunities? New York City. A two-hour flight from home and one of the biggest entertainment capitals of the world -- sounded great to me. A few applications and emails later, I landed myself an interview as an Executive Assistant for a television production company and rocked it. They wanted me to start in three weeks.
My gut was telling me I really needed to think about this. I had the opportunity of a lifetime in front of me, but did I really want to move to New York City? The only reason was that it was close to Georgia -- close to my friends, my family, everything I was familiar with. I was settling, making excuses to be close to home. No, if I was going to do this, I was going to move far away from it all. After years of being comfortable, I owed it to myself to take a risk and stop playing it safe -- Los Angeles, California, here I come.
I spent the few weeks I had left trying to lock in a job, but ended up with one interview at a talent management company. (In a perfect world, I would work at Warner Bros. Studios - my absolute dream.) My hopes were high, and it was enough to validate my decision to move. I was about to move across the country for one interview and I wasn't the slightest bit worried.
Getting in my car and driving cross-country opened my eyes to a world that I couldn't believe existed. Traveling through Route 66, watching the Grand Canyon at sunrise, getting lost in the Mojave Desert -- my 2,200 mile venture instantly uprooted my spirit.
I had finally made it to California and my interview was the next morning. Instead of employment, I was offered an internship and couldn't risk saying no. Was I a little discouraged? Sure, I had been an intern numerous times before. But I was in Beverly Hills interning at a prestigious talent management company -- there was no excuse to complain. However, the title of "intern" can only last so long, especially living in LA.
Two months and countless interviews later, I started losing hope again. Here I am in Los Angeles, the epitome of film and television, and I couldn't land a single job. Patience was no longer my friend, as I started second guessing whether moving was the right thing to do. Self-doubt was a miserable thing to experience.
At the edge of my breaking point, I found myself sitting in an interview at Warner Bros. Studios with the accounting department for 'The Fosters,' on ABC Family. I couldn't believe it. The agonizing stress and nerves took complete control over me -- it was unbearable. My stomach turned into knots because this was the most suspenseful 15 minutes of my life.
I was offered the job immediately after my interview.
I will never be able to describe the emotional anxiety of that day. My number one dream, one that I only envisioned in a far fictional world had come true. From that point on, proving my capabilities to myself became limitless. A few weeks following, I found myself published on the Huffington Post, giving me the opportunity to write my stories and inspire self-growth. Some time after that, I booked a month long backpacking trip through Europe by myself. As a person, I have become more open-minded to ideas and perspectives that I never understood before. I see myself changing into someone I yearned to be -- independent and always hungry for more.
Moving away from home allowed me to truly get to know myself, and it has been quite the surprise. I was an over-thinker, content with comfort. I was dependent on my "timeline" to make me grow without realizing there was no challenge. I was afraid of my insecurities and the unfamiliar.
There comes a time when you have to live your life in a different way. I had plans, but the universe didn't accommodate to that, essentially leaving me with two choices: be no one or be someone. Looking back, had I decided to stay close to home, I would have continued my same routine, completely unaware that I was capable of more. Will I ever move back to Atlanta? Sure - but I can do so knowing that there is a big world out there, and I won't stop seeing it. While my core self is still the same, I have discovered a different side of me that this crazy decision to leave my comfort zone brought to light. Now, I need spontaneity. Now, I am the fuel to my fire. Now, I am so deeply in love with myself. Now, I am recreated. Now, I am me.
I was, but now I am.