Growing up, my days were spent roaming in a very quiet, small town in rural North Carolina. And by small, I’m talking two-stoplights-one-high-school type small. Time seemed to pass a bit slower in this neck of the woods. Everybody knew everybody, and most of my entire family tree was only a couple miles down the road. There’s no question, these childhood days were quite lovely.
But, just as with the comfort that comes along with southern home-cooking, after 20 years of this lifestyle, the everyday routines began to get a little too comfortable. While I appreciated the place and people that raised me, what I needed was change. So, after graduating college, I pushed fear aside, packed my bags, and moved to the biggest city I had always dreamed of calling home.
Yep, you guessed it: New York City.
While leaving the bubble of comfort of my hometown was no easy feat, it turned out to be the best decision of my life, which is why I would encourage anyone to take this plunge, especially in your 20s. A rollercoaster full of ups, downs, and every emotion you can think of, moving to a new place is an experience like no other. And, oh so worth it.
So, if you’re on the tightrope on whether to make the decision to move, allow me to explain eight reasons why you should lean into that pulse of curiosity and totally say yes!
1. You will open the door to an entirely new level of freedom.
You know how people say, “The world is your oyster”? Well, the reason they say this over and over is because it’s true! By expanding the horizon beyond your hometown, your mind will fully comprehend just how big this world is and how endless the possibilities are. All you’ll have to do is decide which path to embark down first.
2. You will be forced to step outside your comfort zone and drastically widen it.
The beauty of moving to a new place is that you will be exposed to so much newness. From meeting new people and immersing yourself in new cultures, to tasting local cuisines and becoming accustomed to new ways of life, you will be forced to step outside your comfort zone.
While it might be easier to lean into hesitation when it comes to all these changes, challenge yourself to embrace them. In doing so, you will become much more open-minded, no matter the level of unfamiliarity, and will become a much more adaptable individual.
And over time, you won’t steer clear of change. In fact, you will most likely start to gravitate towards it, and will be well on your way to becoming addicted to the exhilaration that stems from change. This happened to me, and now, I can’t get enough of discovering new places and introducing myself to diverse cultures.
3. Resourceful will become your middle name.
Because you will be on your own for all the not-so-fun aspects of being an adult — you know, making rent, paying bills, doing laundry — you will quickly become more resourceful and more reliant on yourself.
Don’t think of this scenario of scary. Instead, think of how rewarding it will feel to be more self-reliant. When you do experience hiccups along the way, you will learn to trust yourself more with figuring out a solution, and then realize you are way more resourceful than you ever gave yourself credit for in the first place. And how can you not smile with that kind of delightful thought?
4. Your personal — and professional — network will expand.
Let’s face it: whether we like it or not, so many jobs and opportunities can come from referrals. Therefore, having an expansive network is essential. The great thing about moving to a new place is that your network will continue to grow, and most likely at a faster pace.
While you will have to put yourself out there to meet new people, build connections, and establish this network, it won’t be as challenging as you might first believe. See, the more you introduce yourself to random faces, the less scary it will be. And before you know it, you will not only have more confidence in yourself, but also a brand-new group of friends and contacts from totally diverse backgrounds.
5. Fear will become just another emotion, not a way of life.
Don’t get me wrong, starting fresh in a new place is by no way a walk in the park. It takes guts. It takes courage. I mean, if it were easy, wouldn’t everyone be packing their bags and making the move? But what usually stands in the way is fear.
Once you learn to take hold of fear’s grip and turn it into a pool of excitement, you will become mentally stronger. You will quickly recognize that with some strategic thinking — and a lot of determination — you can achieve all your goals, both in life and your career. By knowing how to kick fear to the curb where it belongs, you will become unstoppable.
6. You will focus more on the relationship that really matters — the one with yourself.
It’s no secret that we all have our own biases. While it most likely is not something we’re proud of, biases are inevitable when only living in one place. But, moving to a new area will allow you to detach yourself from familiar influences. Whether it is your family, friends, or simply the social norms you grew up accustomed to, having a change in scenery will create room for self-discovery.
With the freedom to focus on yourself and uncover who you really are, your perspectives will change. Your mind will be stretched open, as well as your heart. And, inadvertently, you will become shaped into a whole new person — the person you were always meant to be.
7. Your appreciation for your loved ones back home will skyrocket.
We all know the saying, “Absence makes the heart grow stronger.” And, that’s exactly what will happen once you leave your hometown. Whether it takes a few days, weeks, or even months, you will start to miss your loved ones back home, making your appreciation for these adored faces skyrocket.
While leaving your hometown will come with sacrifices — I’ve unfortunately had to miss more family dinners, birthdays, and graduations than I’d like to admit — these life moments will be even more cherished when you do go back home to visit. Because you will be aware of the limited time you together, you will most likely stay focused and present, not somewhere off scrolling on your phone like maybe you once did in the past. And hey, no judgement, we’ve all been guilty of this at one time or another.
8. You’ve only got one life to live, so why not?
Forget about FOMO back home. What about FOMO in your own life?
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in a different place, I strongly urge you to stop wondering and just do it. Take the leap. Make it happen. Just as my mom always preached to my sisters and me, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” We are all in charge of our own destinies, and with only one life to live, why not make the move?