I’ve had this strange relationship with California since landing there in 2010. I stayed with family for a couple of weeks and ever since, whenever my life is in disarray, California comes to mind. When others ask, I sometimes say it has to do with my career (I thought I wanted to pursue broadcast journalism), but deep down, I know all I really want to do is write, and it doesn’t really matter where I am. There’s just something about California…
So in 2012, after graduating with a Bachelor’s in Communications, I made plans to finally move – plans that fell through as life happened. I landed a job at an advertising agency and my perspective changed…for a while.
Since quitting the agency, I’ve been trying to figure out my path, basing my journey on what I love most. I took some time off the corporate world to write my first novel, and in the process of exploring my interests, I uncovered that my dream job is to work for a women’s magazine. Everything I write is tailored to this specific demographic as I believe it is my purpose to help and empower women of all ages.
Well aware that my dream job may be here, in New York City, I had a conversation with the universe, noting that California formed a part of my vision board (though not precisely as a destination to relocate to). I left the possibilities open, but embraced the happenstance of things seemingly falling into place. When I told a friend about my conversation with the universe, she offered me a place to stay, suggesting we become roommates. We went on to speak about expenses and the fact that I needed a steady income in order to be able to move in October when her previous roommate was set to return to London.
I knew I needed something steady, but I also knew it couldn’t be a job in my field. It had to be a job I could quit with little-to-no repercussions, so I texted everyone I could think of. If I could land something by the beginning of September, I knew I had a shot at saving enough (notwithstanding my debt). Otherwise, moving to California in October just wasn’t feasible.
In just three days, on the last week of August, I landed my in-betweener: waitressing (and surprisingly enough, bartending) at a catering hall. Weeks later, my friend expressed that she’d changed her mind about rooming.
“Don’t let a hole in your plans change your plans,” another friend advised.
Though I couldn’t evade the concerns that flooded my mind – Would I be able to save a decent amount in just a few months with my debt? What if I didn’t get a call back from the places I’d been applying to? I’ve started to build something in NY. Would moving be a big mistake? – I was elated to be in a setting full of characters. From the security guards to my coworkers to the guests in attendance, I started to see the ways in which life imitates art. Had I taken on a similar job years ago, I would’ve quit almost instantly, but this time, despite a few rough patches, and with the advice of some of my coworkers, I hung on. Waitressing wasn’t and isn’t the final goal – it’s a bridge to my ultimate destination, a bridge I have learned to embrace despite its flaws, a bridge that allows me the freedom to pursue what I love…
My waitressing schedule, while somewhat consuming at first, began to lighten up after some time. I was able to attend Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life where I networked with the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan and Cosmo For Latinas, and I was also able to attend New York Women In Communications’ Student Conference where I had the pleasure of interviewing (and sending my résumé to) Anne Fulenwider, the Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire.
While I was making plans, amazing things were happening – some of which I’m not yet ready to divulge. I didn’t think twice (despite my plans) to snatch any opportunities that came up.
“If Cosmopolitan hires me, I’ll happily stay,” I revealed to my mother, only to add days later that the same holds true if Marie Claire were to hire me. My mother, though supportive of my decision to move, was elated to hear me say those words.
“How are your California plans coming along?” a coworker recently asked.
I nonchalantly replied that I wasn’t paying much mind to my plans, and I realized, through my unfazed response, the change in my tone, the lack of stress, that I’d let go, and in doing so, I realized, in that moment, that for whatever reason, something within me had changed.
I have the sensation that this decision isn’t solely up to me. I’m not so sure I want to leave. I’m not so sure I need to…at least not yet. At least not now. But I am certain that whatever I am meant to do will become clear in the weeks to follow.
I’ve learned and admitted to myself that part of the reason I am drawn to California is because I work better under pressure and aside from pressure, California entails newness. I’d have no choice but to leave the nest, fly and grow wings on the way down, but I now know and understand that the same applies if I stay in the East Coast, because I’m determined to leave the Bronx next year, and regardless of where I end up, I know, I am certain, I will be fleeting my comfort zone altogether.
Can you think of a time when you made plans, only to have life surprise you in the most unexpected ways? Share below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman.