At 33 I Left the West Coast For the East Coast

Listen, when you make the decision to leave your soon to be old life behind for a new one- it is not an easy task to complete. It was definitely one of the biggest decisions of my life, thus far. And it came at a price. If I was ever uncomfortable in my life prior while living in Arizona, then it was going to be a $%it show once I was moved to New York. Oh, don't worry, because I am not going to attempt to romanticize the move. And I am not writing this epic "how the hell will you survive" moment as a romantic Sex In The City or Morning Glory type story. Although, I love those stories! Often times when you are making moves that will change your life in the best way possible, the hardest changes appear in the beginning stages and boy can they slap ya! But remember that these changes will propel you forward. This story ( the whole one), by the way, is a big one, filled with major twists and turns so I'll save those delicious narratives for a book. 

Photo: Lindiwe Davis

Photo: Lindiwe Davis

However, while we share this brief time together virtually via this post, I will share some insight into how I moved with just three bags, adjusted to a new environment and used my entry into a master's program at New York University as my grounding motivation. When I moved in 2012 from Arizona to New York, I knew the transition would not be easy. And I had much to loose and boy did I loose quite a bit. The level of hardship I experienced right away was not what I perceived to be the norm, as it felt like "def-com 2" every day for six years. Mind you, I finished the program in three years instead of two and I started working from scratch in a new industry--completing internships, entry level roles and accepting entry level pay. When you are planning to make big life changes- you must know a certain amount of disruption will follow. And I am not referring to a disruption like "oh, they ran out my favorite coffee" on Monday morning at your favorite place--nope! I'm referring to the kind of disruption that had me using every dollar I saved in every account and paying the tax penalty to survive for an entire year. Did I mention that when I moved to New York to begin the master's program at NYU that I did not have a job? I had resigned ( gave my official two weeks) from my corporate America job of 12 years  and I was gone. Of course it was not my intention to move without a job, so I applied like a mad woman for months prior to moving. And nothing came--it was worst than the Arizona heat-- day in and day out not landing interviews as the deadline to move was approaching, sweating away my high hopes. But nothing was going to stop me from moving forward with my dream to attend NYU and live in New York as an adult. Fun fact: I lived in New York as a kid for a few years and I knew I was supposed to live here as an adult. I say all of that to say-- it was a 20 year dream realized. 

SO where do the three bags come into this painted picture? In 2011, so many life changes were converging at once. I packed my house up, sold and or gave away just about all of the furniture, decorative paintings, and nick-nacks. I kept a small number of important items in a storage area and said goodbye. Now there are other stories about my house that happened but as I mentioned--I'll save that for the books. When I look back on the last six months of 2011, I think about how determined I was to the tune of packing up an entire house by myself, getting rid of 85% of my closet ( clothes, shoes, jewelry and etc) and sorting important documents. It took quite a bit of gumption to do that--but moving and knowing in my heart that this move would take me to my next steps--I just kept going. Following the pack up, I had three pieces of luggage- large, medium and carry on size. I was strategic and logical towards what would go into the three bags. In the large bag, I placed everyday items--clothes, scarves, small keepsakes and etc. The medium bag had clothes and coats. And the carry on had my electronics and important papers needed to get me started on this new journey including tax documents, printed resume--you get the idea. I also had a purse. My younger brother drove me to the airport, along with my sister in law, nieces and in the back of his SUV, one of my great friends was hiding in the back without me knowing. Those damn three bags were her camouflage. You would think a person would be thinking about the road ahead. Believe me, I was. But my brain was pushing all of that to the side because I was only thinking about those damn bags and how the hell I was going to get them out of the airport by myself.

I've done many things on my own and consider myself a true independent; however, a little help never hurt anyone and I knew it was going to be a hell of a time getting those bags from the carousel alone to the taxi line. But I got it done and I headed to my hotel in Park Slope, Brooklyn where I lived for the next few weeks. Shortly after I began the program at NYU. My aunt and uncle( God bless them) connected me with their friend who hosted me (I had a room and we settled on a rent amount) for the next six months in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. And from that point, I was making moves to change my entire life. I was in a new environment as a 33 year old seasoned professional, still looking for work, living off of all of the money I had to my name and doing the best I could in a master's program at one of the best schools in the world. One of the biggest lessons in the beginning years of the move (2012-2016) was my focus on the road ahead and an equal focus on the roadblocks. The problem with that thinking is that you can't be equally focused on the roadblocks and the road ahead. I have learned that roadblocks are going to come and go and they show up in the form of hardship, people, and unexplained events. I can only tell you that if you take the blockages as they come and put more energy and action towards the road ahead, you'll know and begin to see the path ahead clearly. Every time I think of moving to New York with just three bags, I soak up every detail of the move and remember that I didn't do something unheard of; however, I accomplished something amazing. And it would not have happened had I remained stuck on any of the roadblocks that I could see nor the ones I could not. Some of you may have three pairs of pants to your name or three goals that have been in your sights for a while, my point is whatever the number is attached to that thing you are trying to do--move with intent, desire, faith and if you have the ability there is nothing you cannot accomplish. When I am faced with hardship, hard decisions, closed doors or feeling like the "odd woman out" I check-in with knowing I moved to the toughest city to make it, gave up one life as an established adult (to start another) and I did it with just three bags.

I'll be sharing more stories along the way and I wish all of you success as you continue to make moves in your lives. --Cheers!