I might as well just call 2016 my year of movement, because it seems like that’s all I accomplished. I moved three different times, took on three different jobs, and haven’t felt like I can call a place “home” in a very long time.
It’s a bittersweet feeling, it really is.
On one hand, I enjoy the constant feeling of excitement that comes with change. But on the other, I’m homesick for a home that I don’t even have.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though; if you tuned into my Facebook Live broadcast on December 14th, you heard about the hop, skip, and jump that I took from North Carolina to Pennsylvania, and then from Pennsylvania to Colorado. If you missed it, here’s the rundown…
I graduated in December 2015 with a job in North Carolina. I had just ended a very significant relationship, and in a panicky “rebound” stage, I moved to Waynesville, NC with a coworker. No bueno. I worked in a Special Education classroom for 6 months before my position was cut due to budget restraints.
I can tell you that this point in my life was one of the lowest, and if I hadn’t moved I probably (no...definitely) would have ended my life. I was so unhappy - I developed terrible habits, reverted back to my extreme anxious and angry self that I had worked hard to overcome, and just waited for something good to come into my life (instead of, ya know, creating the good myself).
I’m not sure what sparked the thought, or what higher power shed a small beam of light on me for the moment, but I remember being in the apartment I was sharing with my coworker one night and thinking
“I have to move to Pennsylvania”.
So, two days later, that’s exactly what I did. I packed up everything that I could fit into my Honda Civic (which honestly was not much. I left SO MANY things behind) and drove 9 hours to move in with my dad.
It’s amazing what a location change can do to your overall health and outlook on life.
One unsettling thought that I could never shake was how I was going to make money.
I had just completed a degree in something I felt passionate about - but also wildly burnt out in. Teaching in the North Carolina Public School System had drained me, beat me, and made me feel very small. It amazes me how our government officials haven’t figured out that we are losing valuable educators because of how poorly they are treated.
My parents kept asking me when I was going to apply for my Pennsylvania teaching license, or when I was going to start applying for teaching jobs - and honestly - I lied like hell to them. I had not one single plan to do that. But I couldn’t tell them what my actual plan was, because to be honest I didn’t have one at all.
All I had was a lot of ideas, and a lot of time.
So I birthed Rock Your Creative Life, an extension of Peace & Blessings. I also applied to a handful of jobs so I had a steady income while I was mulling around in the 900 different things I wanted to DO. I took on a part time job at Target (which I would recommend to anyone who wants a fairly positive retail job. It was not bad AT ALL) to make money, and just started living day by day. I didn’t have anything except a bundle of high risk dreams, an unsettling pit on anxiety from feeling like I wasted 4 years in college, and a very kind and supportive father who let me live in his house.
When I make it big, I owe all of it to him.
Now...before I continue, let me say that I do not regret attending a University. I think that my college education was/is/will be essential to my success. I just wish I had explored my passion for marketing, social media, and entrepreneurship before settling in with teaching. If you are a teacher reading this, I am in awe of you. You are wonderful and so so so needed. It just didn’t work for me.
From June until the beginning of November, I was living paycheck to paycheck in Pennsylvania. As a 23 year old at the time, I felt like I was in some sort of weird life limbo where I wasn't successful, even though I had the potential to be. I felt like everyone's lives were moving forward and I was stuck in some sort of quicksand. I had no idea what I could do with my life because an education degree really only allows you to be a teacher.
Thankfully, during this stage of professional development quicksand, I was able to immerse myself in things like writing a novel, designing a website, and prepping my resume for a Social Media Advertising job.
For those of you who have followed along with me since Peace & Blessings, the blossoming of my YouTube channel, or you’ve been placed in the “friends and family” category, you know that I have a deeply rooted love for digital media. It’s a field that has fascinated me, and I’ve spent years teaching myself how to navigate within it. My mind has always been set in using social media platforms for my career, but:
Fast forward to about...early October. An opportunity that I didn’t put too much thought into had fallen into my path, and I decided to step over it without a second thought. My thought was that stepping over it allowed me to move away from it, but still keep it there incase I wanted to come back to it. I had become comfortable with my life in Pennsylvania, and the opportunity presented to me would mean another major life change - one even bigger than moving up north.
But. with some gentle nudging from a few family members, I started engaging in the opportunity and once it started to become a real possibility, the excitement set in.
I want to point out this significant moment where I could have stayed in my comfort zone, which had me nestled in the mountains of pennsylvania.
One of the largest obstacles that I, or anyone faces, is themselves. We’re constantly arguing with ourselves on the validity of the goal we might have. Why are we doing that? Why are we choosing to prevent success?
The universe is bursting with opportunities - they’re right there waiting to be picked up and squeezed of all it’s potential, but somewhere along the way we convince ourselves it cannot happen.
Cue scene: Me, on my comforting path, which I can clearly see leads to a mediocre time, and then a massive boulder called OPPORTUNITY comes barreling by, creating a new path that is rough, new, and I have no idea where it leads.
I spent weeks debating if moving to Colorado for a job was the right thing for me. At the time I had people I truly cared about in Pennsylvania, and deep down I knew that if I moved, I would probably lose them. Just typing that reminds me of the sick-to-my-stomach feeling I had anytime I thought of it. I would be moving away from my family, and putting myself into a career path that I could potentially suck at.
To say it was terrifying would be an understatement.
But I’ve always been a person who likes pushing the limits. I like diverting away from the crowd, and doing my own thing. I’ve spent most of my life feeling extremely independent, and as a 24 year old, that wasn’t stopping anytime soon.
So, a Social Media Management job was offered to me in Boulder, Colorado, and exactly 14 days after I received the offer letter, I was on a plane.
It wasn’t a walk in the park - the interview process was intense, I had to work very hard, do my research, and I had prepared for the worst. Which, now that I’m writing this, I wish I wouldn’t have had that mentality. My advice to anyone reaching for a dream job that seems out of their league - don’t stop reaching, and keep the positive mindset that you are the right person for the job.
I left everyone and everything that I “knew” behind.
I cried on the plane - I was sad to be leaving behind a life that I felt okay with, but I was also overwhelmed with the unknown that was coming.
I have been in Colorado since November 6th, and I have not one regret about moving. I can’t imagine going back to my life in North Carolina or Pennsylvania. I have found my place, my home.
Yes, I miss the people I left behind, and teaching will always have a special place in my heart, but being able to accept your dream career isn’t something that you pass up.
My advice - if you aren’t in a place in your life where you’re feeling happy or successful, identify what you want to do be doing. Create actionable steps to achieve it, and start. Don’t waste another second in your comfort zone.
Want to chat about your own goals? Rock Your Creative Life has a lot of options for you: