Leaving Your Comfort Zone
Since I’ve started this blog I’ve gotten e-mails asking me about my move from Michigan to California. Most are from readers who are interested in making a big move themselves but have the obvious fears. Where to live, how to find a job, how to deal with missing home, etc. These are all natural feelings when it comes to leaving something you are comfortable with and facing something that is unknown. (I have been dealing with these feelings myself lately when it comes to venturing off into self-employment.)
I initially thought my decision to move to California stemmed from having a great vacation. I visited a friend here (and met Jordan) and then returned to Michigan with the “California Bug.” When I think about it more in depth though, I wanted to move to a new, exciting place, because I was at a stand-still in Michigan. I was at the same job for the past three years, doing the same thing every weekend. I was comfortable, but I was getting bored. Then I fell in love with easy breezy beautiful (omg just realized that’s the Cover Girl slogan) California and all of a sudden I had something that could cure my boredom.
At the time, I didn’t think about things like not seeing my family for months (years) or having friendships dwindle from the distance or not being able to find a job. I knew they were possibilities, but I knew dwelling on them could stop me from going. I mean, isn’t that why so many of us stay in our comfort zones?
Once in California, it wasn’t the easiest transition for me. Well, let me assure you that it was full of the excitement and brand new feelings that I had been needing. But I faced a few things that did not help me sit well in California at first.
First off, I moved in with the one friend I had here. Now some of you may know that on occasion, friends who live together end up not being friends anymore. That is this case. This is really my own fault, as I sort of knew inside that it probably wasn’t the best idea for me to live with this girl (we are very different) but as it was my one connection to California I did it anyways. This impacted my social life in California and had me missing my girlfriends (true friends) at home more than ever.
When I decided I was going to move here I started looking for jobs online. I found a photography studio that would be needing to hire some one around the time I was moving. I met the owner a couple days after I arrived and bam, I had a job. It wasn’t full-time and it wasn’t well-paying, but I looked at it as a start. Long story short, it was the most miserable place I have ever worked in my life. The owner….honestly, I won’t go into detail on how condescending the owner was towards employees. I called my mom and said “I have to quit. I know I don’t have anything lined up, but I have to get out of there. This is not why I moved here.” The next day, the most terrifying day of my life, I told the owner I was quitting, and he threatened me. He threatened my life. I walked out, sobbing, and went and stayed the night at Jordan’s because I was so scared. (I never filed a police report and to this day I regret not doing so.) It was the scariest thing, but at the same time, it made me 100% (1,000%) sure I made the right decision.
I spent two months unemployed. Thankfully, I had savings. (A savings account is what helped me make the decision to move. I can’t say I would’ve made this decision if I did not have money saved up.) I went through some really crappy interviews for jobs I didn’t really want but the first interview I had that was photography related landed me a job. It is the same job I have today.
So, it was a shaky start. It tested me, it worried me, it scared me. But it changed my life in amazing ways. I will always recommend making a move like this because it really shows you what you’re capable of. And even if you plan before and feel prepared, well shit falls through. Things in life happen that you can’t prepare for. But it’s those moments that really test your strength and character. I have learned so much about myself by taking this risk, and I would recommend it to anyone considering it. xo JA