• aquarianmelo submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter about leaving your comfort zoneWrite a letter about leaving your comfort zone 1 week, 5 days ago

    My Big Move Across The Country

    In 2020, when the world came to a complete stop and everyone was home and couldn’t do much, there was a lot of reflection and goal setting for me. I was 37 years old and still living with my mother and knew it was time to leave the nest.

    Living in New York was not ideal for me (where I’m from and grew up) and I wanted to move to the west coast. The game plan was to live in Los Angeles, I had been there a few times and loved the environment, atmosphere and potential opportunities for me with writing.

    I soon learned that it would be too expensive to live there and my second option was Phoenix, Arizona. I had never been to the city, had no family there, no friends living there so I would be moving there alone. If I moved to California, I would have my uncle so that was my backbone.

    The whole year I spent saving my money while working from home and eventually went to my big boss at my current job and spoke to him about leaving New York but staying with the company. Once I was given the go to move across the country, my journey started.

    I would start apartment searching and come across a brand new apartment complex in Midtown Phoenix. I’ll always remember the manager giving me a virtual tour and I fell in love with it. After applying and getting approved, it was real. I was officially moving to Phoenix, Arizona.

    Next, was finding a moving company that was affordable and booking that. It was even more real when the movers came two weeks before I left to take all of the furniture I would be taking to Phoenix with me. The excitement was there, I started writing down a long list of things I needed for my apartment. I would walk around my mom’s apartment and write down things I planned on buying from Amazon.

    All of the years I spent watching and learning from my mother on moving, buying things, and saving money were all starting to pay off. My mother never knew I was taking mental notes on how to manage everything, packing, preparing ahead of time. That was one big lesson my mother always taught me, to prepare and be ready for anything and everything in life.

    As the days got closer, things were getting real. As I slept on a blow up bed in my room, I’d start to get nervous and wonder, “am I going to be okay? I’m moving away from my family, my best friends of over 25 years, I’d be alone every day.”

    Thanksgiving morning, I was a wreck, I broke down and cried in bed as my mother comforted me and told me that I’m going to be good. I’m going to be okay and this was always meant to be. GOD has my back, he will be there and this is what he has planned for me.

    After calming down and my mom wiping my tears away and giving me a big hug, I felt so much better. The uncertainties faded, this is a journey of growth and becoming the man I’m supposed to be. We would cook Thanksgiving dinner and my aunt would make her famous string beans and we’d have a great dinner together.

    The day before I moved into my apartment, I would leave the confines of New York, a place I spent 33 of my 37 years at the time (I spent four years in Connecticut for college), and I said my goodbyes to my mother and aunt. My mom admitted she cried after I left and they were tears of joy that I was going somewhere I wanted.

    The airplane ride was great but in my mind I was thinking to myself, “you’re one brave but crazy guy.” I was going through the excitement of where I’d be living and as the airplane descended into SkyHarbor Phoenix Airport, I would take pictures from my airplane seat of where I’d be living.

    The mountains were beautiful, the sun was shining bright, it was November 30, 2020 and it was 75 degrees in Phoenix, Arizona. That was a complete difference from New York where it can be anywhere from 30-50 degrees. As I sat on the airplane in sweatpants and a heavy zip up hoodie, I knew I’d be making some adjustments to what I’d be wearing living in Phoenix.

    I would stay at an Airbnb and get to know who I was staying with a little bit as she has young kids. She gave me some advice and pointers on living in Phoenix that I surely applied and I’m thankful she shared a few things with me. She didn’t want to overload me as she wanted me to experience things for myself.

    A few hurdles the next morning with getting to my new place along with other things, I’d finally get my keys to my apartment. Upon walking in, there was a cleaning lady doing some final touches in mopping the floors to my apartment. To the left of me were all of the boxes of stuff from Amazon (I wish I took a picture of it, my only regret).

    I’d get settled into my apartment by unpacking the clothes I had and opening all of my boxes. My furniture and the rest of my things wouldn’t come until a few days later so I’d sleep on my floor with my comforter, sheet and pillows I ordered with my TV on the floor.

    The next day, I would go get food for my house with a trip to Costco and carrying everything up two flights of stairs wasn’t necessarily the most fun. I was officially living on my own, after all of the years of trying to find a stable job where I can have my own place, the fulfillment was there, my hard work had paid off.

    There are so many lessons I can say I’ve learned since moving to Phoenix, Arizona. Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary but it’s also fun and exciting in a lot of ways. I’d go on to meet my neighbors and become cool with them. They were in their early 20s so I was the uncle who taught them the ropes with living on your own.

    I’d be paying rent that’s significantly higher than what I was paying. I’d be doing my own food shopping, paying every bill in the book (electricity, internet, etc) and remembering the dates I had to pay them. It was about organization and staying on top of everything. It was the daily cleaning of my apartment, buying whatever else I needed for my place.

    There were a lot of lessons I learned about life where I’d meet people and help them become the best versions of themselves. It would be settling into a routine of work, gym, writing my books, publishing them, promoting myself, going to events, learning the Phoenix metro area.

    I’d go on to buy a bike, and ride a trail on a daily basis. I’d find a church where they had an outdoor basketball court where I can get a workout in. I’d met the pastor of the church who is from New York and we became good friends which was great.

    Being on my own was surreal, when my mom used to tell me, “there’s nothing like turning your own key to your place,” I finally understood what she meant. I was walking into my sanctuary, my place of peace, where I can learn, grow, think, and become a better version of myself.

    I’d live in my apartment for two years before leaving there and moving into a new building again and being the first to live in the apartment I’m currently in. I’d go on to meet so many people in this new place I’m in and spend time with them with game nights, go to sports games, go out to eat and have fun.

    Sometimes in life, stepping out of your comfort zone is necessary. With my writing and books, I’ve been able to meet people, go to book events and network with new people who have become part of my life and my circle.

    It’s okay to be nervous and scared to step out of your comfort zone. Sometimes doing that can lead to the best moments of your life. They can lead to new opportunities, career changes and things you would never think of.

    Don’t hinder yourself from living the life that you want. As I always tell people, be 80 years old with memories, not with regrets.

    Jamell Crouthers

    Jamell Crouthers

    Voting starts December 1, 2023 12:00am

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