Happy 2017 all! As we welcome in another new year many people are making resolutions and new beginnings. Here’s the thing, you do not have to wait for January 1st in order to start a new chapter in your life. Every day you wake up is an opportunity to start new. Two years ago, I officially moved to North Carolina from Pennsylvania. The official move started the day after Christmas 2014, but the planning and decision to make the move started way before then. This post will take you through my journey of a new beginning in my life.
In 2012, I made the decision to leave a twenty-year marriage. We both wanted different things and had moved in different directions personally. Looking back on the separation then divorce, it was rough on both of us, but we are both happier with our lives. He is with the person he should have always been with and deep down inside I knew that and I am living a life that makes me very happy. In September 2012, I moved into a small 1 bedroom apartment which was close to where I was working at the time. I was not sure where my life was heading at that point. I just felt I needed a change. At the same time, I had been traveling for work to places such as Charlotte, Nashville, Tulsa, Falls Church, and Eden Prairie. I really enjoyed meeting co-workers in the various offices. The traveling got me thinking that relocating would help me get the fresh start I was so desperately looking for in life.
In 2012 and 2013, I posted for positions in the Nashville office. I thought Nashville would be the perfect place for me to start over. However, due to various reasons I did not get either of the positions. But as my motto goes, everything happens for a reason. Nashville was not my destiny at that time in my life. I kept working at the same job in the same office. I was working about 70-80 hours consistently and starting to get burnt out. Add onto that the urge to relocate was growing stronger in me.
Then 2014 came and the spring was awful, in a matter of four weeks I lost two family members who meant the world to me. I was devastated. I ended up in therapy to deal with the losses. It was during those sessions that my therapist talked to me about what was holding me back from taking the leap to relocate. Mostly it was fear. I would be leaving friends, family and the area that I grew up. It is hard leaving your comfort zone. My therapist really encouraged it because she could tell I just needed to start on a path that would make me happy. I really hadn’t been happy for a long time.
Throughout the spring and summer of 2014, I was part of an ERP migration project that had me working those long hours. The project was scheduled to go live October 1st. I decided that I was going to take a road trip in October. It was going to be my first road trip by myself. I was heading to Nashville then Charlotte then back to Pennsylvania. I only told a select few where I was going and why. I had narrowed it down to those two places for relocating. I loved traveling to both for work, I knew a couple people in both areas so I wouldn’t be completely alone.
The road trip itself was liberating. I felt so alive and free. I started in Nashville. I really like Nashville and I am a country music fan (along with other genres) who owns two pairs of cowboy boots. However, when I went to Charlotte I actually felt like I was home. I know that sounds corny. But it’s true. Maybe it’s because that was where I had traveled the most with my job. I didn’t just pick Charlotte because of a feeling, I actually thought it out. I wanted to relocate where I could find a job that would get me back into a Financial Controller position. After only being in town for a couple days, I asked a friend to recommend apartment complexes, he drove me around to see where a few were located. My last couple days in town I went apartment searching – again note only a handful of people back in Pennsylvania knew what I was up to, this was going to be a shock to friends and family when I got back. I found a nice apartment within the dollar range I had in my budget. The Saturday before heading home, I signed some preliminary lease paperwork and put a deposit down for an apartment.
When I got back and told people I was quitting my job and moving 500 miles south, most of the reactions were typical of doubters, who obviously did not know me as well as they thought. I kept hearing repeatedly:
- “What about a job?”
- “You’re not just going to quit a good job and move, are you stupid?”
- “You’ll be back in six months.”
- “You’re going to fail.”
Failure was not and is still not an option. The doubters have not learned that about me.
I gave my boss at the time about two months’ notice, I was going to continue to work until sometime in December. This way he could pick a successor that I could train and I would document my processes. I did not want to leave them without having things in place, heck on my last day I worked over 12 hours making sure I had everything ready for the next person. As much as I needed the change in my life, the workplace I was leaving gave me the confidence in myself to make this a reality.
I had spent two months packing up my stuff and figuring out the logistics of the move. From December 26, 2014 through January 4, 2015 I was on a whirlwind traveling several times between North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Here is the timeline of that ten-day journey and trust me afterwards, I was exhausted.
December 26th & 27th – Drove from Pennsylvania to Charlotte with a friend to officially sign my lease. We left in the morning, got to the hotel in Charlotte, ate dinner had some drinks, then slept. We got up early, went signed the lease dropped off boxes that I had brought, had lunch then drove back to Pennsylvania.
December 28th – Dropped the cats off at the vet’s office/pet resort for a week. Picked up the rental truck. Dropped my vehicle off at a family members place (easier to pick up when I flew back).
December 29th – With the help of a friend, we loaded up the rental truck. Then at 8:00 PM I started the drive from Grove City, Pennsylvania to Charlotte, North Carolina in snow, driving a rental truck for the first time. Around 2:30 AM I stopped in West Virginia to sleep.
December 30th – Drove the rest of the way to Charlotte. Took a few things into the apartment off the rental truck, then slept.
December 31st – Had professional movers unload the rental truck, they arrived at 9:00 am and were done by 11:00 am. Best decision I made considering there were steps involved. At 11:30, a friend followed me to the rental truck drop off, then drove me to the airport for a flight back to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A family member picked me up at the airport, took me to my vehicle.
January 1st & 2nd – With the help of a friend, cleaned my old apartment. I did a walk through with the landlord.
January 3rd – I was supposed to pick up the cats and head back to Charlotte, but the weather in Pittsburgh did not cooperate and we had snow and ice. I called the vet’s office to see if the cats could stay one more night and I made sure that the hotel I was staying at could keep me one more night.
January 4th – Picked up the cats in the morning, the vet had given them a pill to keep them calm for the drive. Then headed to Charlotte. When I got into the apartment I was so exhausted I just wanted to sleep in the bed, however knowing it was the first night in a new place with the cats, I actually slept in their bedroom on the floor with them.
I was so exhausted after those ten days. It was so worth it though. The cats did not take long to adjust. They love this apartment over the previous one in Pennsylvania. This one is bigger and has more windows so they can enjoy the sun in the afternoons (see pictures below). Plus, they have more room to hide when they feel scared or need alone time.
Fast forward two years and here I am, still in the same apartment, I have a good job, and definitely not a failure. I will admit I was scared taking the leap of faith. I left a good job, friends, and family for a new city that I am proud to call home. I had no idea what was going to happen with my life, and it’s still evolving.
My message to all of you who read this blog is this:
Your new beginning can happen at any time not just on January 1. As long as you are breathing, you can start fresh. Do not let fear cripple your life. Do not listen to the negative people in your life, surround yourself with positive people. Do not wait to start on a new path (whether career, personal, health, spiritual or anything). I used to be the one that would say, “I’ll do it someday.” If you are afraid, talk to one of your positive friends or family member or talk to me. I’m still afraid of things, but I’m working to get over my fears one day at a time and you can too.
Remember you all are amazing, smart, beautiful/handsome, kind, loving, caring, fearless, and confident. You are the best version of you, no one can take that away. You are important to this world and to me. Make that your daily mantra, say it to yourself every day so you remember to believe in yourself. When you believe in yourself anything is possible.
If I can start a new beginning in my life and be happy, so can you.
Happy New Year 2017!!!! Make it a good one!!!!!