It’s crazy to think about how much your life can change in a year.
Exactly one year ago, I was leaving Los Angeles to move back to New York. I had no job and little money. Since moving back, I secured a job (actually two), took a Pilates teacher training certification, obtained a qualification as a TRX instructor, started my own business, dropped one of the jobs and found a great apartment.
This year was pretty productive, but it hasn’t always been that way for me. In the past, I often felt empty, unsatisfied in my jobs, and unsure of which direction to go in.
I graduated from college with a BA in Broadcast Journalism. I remember thinking I would take just a few weeks off to celebrate completing school. What I didn’t realize was that I graduated just as the economy was crashing. I ended up getting those weeks off that I wanted after college, and then those weeks turned into months.
I knew I wanted to move away from New York; I’d been here my whole life and I was craving an adventure. I decided I wanted to move to either Boston or Los Angeles (total opposites, I know).
Boston was the closer, easier option at the time so I moved there, but after three months, I hated it. It was way too cold, and I had a day job but it was impossible to find a position in journalism. At 22 years old, I didn’t want to waste my time unhappy and living in a city I didn’t love. I packed up my stuff and headed back to New York.
Once I was back home, I was able to find only a freelance position in journalism. I also worked at a restaurant to supplement my income. I really didn’t like the situation I was in. I hated living in New York at the time and not having stable jobs, and I still felt like my craving for adventure was unsatisfied.
After a few months, I took a trip to visit a friend in L.A. and felt enthralled. I knew I had to be out there; I finally felt like I had direction. I had a plan. I decided that I would work all summer, and the second I had $10,000 in my bank account, I’d move to L.A.
Six months later, I had arrived!
My almost four years of living in L.A. were an emotional rollercoaster. The good times were really good, but the bad times were really bad.
I went from job to job, never finding a situation that completely aligned with journalism. From my experience, I found it to be extremely hard to find a full-time position with benefits in the field.
I also spent a lot of time being unemployed in L.A., which leaves you plenty of time to think (for better or for worse). I eventually decided that I didn’t want to work for anyone ever again. I didn’t know how or what I was going to do, but I knew I was going to have my own business no matter what, and nothing was going to stop me.
Whenever I went through a hard time, I always turned to positive thinking. It actually becomes like a skill, to pick your head up and search for the positive in a negative situation. I’m also a huge advocate of dream or vision boards.
One year and three days ago, I made the decision to leave Los Angeles and start over again in New York. I had no idea what the future was going to hold, and it was scary. I know from experience that when things aren’t working out, you have to make a change and sometimes a big one! So, I spent the majority of this past year creating, planning and finally executing my own business.
About three months ago, I launched a line of women’s fitness tank tops that promote positive thinking, empowerment and a healthy lifestyle. Each month, we donate 10 percent of proceeds to different charities and nonprofits. I’ve been choosing charities that are focused on female empowerment, because it’s really important to me that young girls have someone to go to if they feel lost or experience any disheartening situation.
Working for myself has completely changed my life. It sounds cliché but it’s true. I don’t feel under-appreciated; I’m not working for someone else to get credit or to build someone else’s bank account. I’m creating something I’m passionate about while giving back to people at the same time. Running my own business has been extremely empowering. It gives me a sense of direction and it’s challenged me to work harder than I ever have at any job before.
Photo Credit: Emily Long