Bags packed. Check. Goodbye hug to roommates. Given. Butterflies in stomach. Fully loaded. The final steps had been taken, and the only thing standing between me and my future was a five hour plane ride. I was headed to sunny Los Angeles, CA the land of high hopes and large dreams in pursuit of my own desire to accomplish big things.
I was 23 years old and had graduated from the University of Cincinnati only three months prior to the fateful flight that whisked me out of the Queen City where I’d been born and raised. A job offer that I couldn’t pass up was the external reason I used to validate my move. The real reason, however, had nothing to do with the job and everything to do with a feeling. For longer than I could remember, an inexplicable feeling calling me to the California coast had lingered in my gut.
It’s hard to explain, but when you get a feeling like that, passion takes over and reason gets thrown to the wayside. This is how I felt about moving to Los Angeles. I tested the waters with a summer internship in the city, and that was enough to get me hooked. I knew no one in LaLa land, or even nearby for that matter. Most of my college friends in fact had moved in the opposite direction, following jobs to the East Coast. Truth be told, I didn’t even want to take the job I’d been offered. I viewed it as the vehicle to my final destination, as if I’d been a hitchhiker and this job was the car that had offered me a ride.
My motivation was the need for a new perspective, literally and figuratively. I’d spent my entire life in one city and while it was home, I desperately needed a new view. The conversations and opinions all had begun to sound the same. The opportunities for my career seemed to all funnel in the same direction, and the energy had started to feel stagnant. A haze had been cast over the image I had for my future, and the only way I could unshroud the fog was to get to a brighter light, one that could only be found in a place like Los Angeles.
Nearly three years later, I have gotten the new perspective I was yearning for. Los Angeles is a city rich in diversity and with that comes the feeling that anything you want to achieve is possible. Here, there is no one way of thinking or one way to live. I have met friends who are taking their lives in incredible directions that I would never have considered as plausible options. I’ve learned to question my long-standing beliefs and to challenge what is and what could be. Most importantly, I’ve once again gotten excited about where my future can go.
Last fall, I took another big leap and shed the corporate job that had transported me to the west coast. The job had been a safety net, keeping me tied to what was old and familiar. Living in LA allowed me to see that I could pursue the things I was passionate about. In this case my passion has lead me to join a startup as well as to partner with a friend to found a website for other young and aspirational females.
Leaving behind everything I once knew has certainly come with it’s share of fear. It’s scary to be far from home, away from a steady corporate job, and trying to make it in a new place. Yet, I finally feel like I can see things clearly now and am happy to embrace the change that has come with my new view.