I realized I was over New York City the night of my birthday.
This night was already particularly life-changing since it was the same evening Beyoncé released Lemonade. My friends and I grabbed a speaker, a bottle of Jameson, and sat in the South Beach, Miami sand under the moon. As the waves kissed the shore, the most peaceful calm washed over me, and it was at that very moment I knew the only way I'd feel a fraction as happy in my day-to-day life was if I left the one place I had been miserable in for so long.
Before Beyoncé snatched my edges yet again, I toyed constantly with the idea to move back home to Maryland from New York City, but the guilt of abandoning the urban jungle that taught me how to be independent and toughened me up paralyzed any of my efforts to actually leave. I feared I'd indirectly sabotage my dreams if I left after spending five years carving out my space in The Big Apple. I was caught up in some type of faux loyalty, some abusive comfort zone, where I was dangerously unhappy but stayed anyway. I racked my brain about it for some time. Ultimately, though, NYC was beginning to suffocate me, both creatively and mentally, and depression was setting in.
You see, to the outside world (and my followers on social media), my life was lit. I had a good job, a decent Harlem apartment in one of the most unaffordable cities in the world and was rubbing elbows with some of the music industry's elite. I'd accomplished my goal of writing a cover story, interviewed your favorite celebrity's favorite celebrity and had finally launched a fitness and sports business with my colleague. Still, I was largely unsatisfied with my life. Nothing moved me anymore. I didn't feel refreshed and revitalized by the city's energy. In fact, I felt drained and almost lifeless. It was weird, because I felt I was being ungrateful. My lifestyle had afforded me amazing opportunities. And hadn't God given me the lifestyle I'd asked for? Yet, there I was the day I returned from my birthday vacation disgusted by the Subway and nowhere near looking forward to another work week. After such a relaxing week of celebrating a new year, I was on the verge of tears as my anxiety reached a new level.
That Monday, hand to God, I walked in and quit my job without a two week notice. I couldn't last another day writing about bullshit my heart wasn't into. Once I chucked the deuces at my full-time gig, I no longer had cemented ties to the city, and I was closer to that freeing feeling I felt that night on the beach. Was I 100 percent sure about how I'd relocate or what I would do once I got there? Hell no. But I asked God to work it out if it was in His will to make me a Marylander again. The goal was to become a freelance writer, finally start my book and continue to grow my business from the comfort of suburbia, all while maintaining, what I consider, a better quality of life. (Sorry but I just prefer clean cities and a more reasonable cost of living.)
And here I am. So, here are the top three things I learned from moving back home:
1. My bank account looks better.
I'm #adulting so much more efficiently these days that my bank account is actually glo'ing up! Though I have new expenses I didn't have in NYC, like a car and gas, apartments are typically cheaper and have much more space. Trust me, living in my own apartment beats spending an arm and a leg to live with two roommates.
2. I'm learning to trust myself.
I can't describe how incredible it feels to start a new chapter of my life. Not only has my being removed from the overcrowded, speedy hustle of the NYC improved my life, but the process of moving back to the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia area) also taught me to trust myself. Before I flew the cuckoo's nest better known as NYC, I was so afraid to lose the safety net of a 9-to-5. Not to mention, plenty of naysayers believed the move would cripple me. I'd freelanced a few years prior, but I ran back to the corporate world when things got tough. This go round, though, it's either make it as an entrepreneur and author, or fail. I may not be in the mecca of media, but let's just say the odds have reawakened my hustle and excitement for my career.
The fact that I decidedly stuck to what I knew was best for me has also made me more self-aware and reinforced my resilience. I've learned that it's OK to outgrow phases of my life that no longer serve me in a way they "should" or once did before.
3. My relationship with God is stronger.
Uprooting my life from one place to another took guidance that I couldn't always find in my own understanding. I leaned on God heavily to show me I was making the right decision. It's been 30 days since I hit the reset button, and as a result of giving God the wheel, my relationship with Him is stronger. Because my faith is top notch, I feel a stronger sense of self, my energy is much more positive and I've learned to trust God for more than just making sure my ends meet.
So, do I miss New York? Eh. The people and bodega breakfast sandwiches maybe. I even feel a twinge of nostalgia when I see the city skyline fly across my Instagram feed. But please believe, I won't be trading in my peaceful quality of life for another Metrocard ever again.
Have you ever moved back home to get your happy back? What lessons did you learn? Share with us below!
- Moving Back Home Was The Best Decision I Ever Made – The Ascent ›
- Moving Back Home: The Best Decision Or The Worst? | HuffPost ›
- Moving Back Home: How to Make Sure it's a Good Decision ›
- I Was Ashamed to Move Back to My Hometown As an Adult—But the ... ›
- Why There's No Shame In Moving Back In With Your Parents ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Jackie Aina is the embodiment of Black girl luxury, and her crib is no exception. Located in a ritzy area in Los Angeles, CA, Jackie’s home is equipped with all the things every fancy girl needs: an upscale kitchen, elevator, and fabulous pool. Luckily for us, the YouTuber opened up her home with the ultimate house tour. In a video on Tayo Aina’s (no relation) YouTube channel, Jackie goes from room to room, showing us her interior design style while also dishing on her life and career.
Jackie began making beauty content on YouTube in 2009, and from there, she’s grown her empire through collaborations with makeup brands like Too Faced. Now, she is the co-founder of the candle company FORVR Mood. The former Army reservist is known for her colorful personality, but her home is the opposite, which is on purpose. “Personally, because I have such a big, bold, colorful personality, I like to dress big and bold, I want to be the color in my home,” she said. “I don’t want my home to be the color. I want you to see me.”
She continued, “I want the house to be calming, and I want the house to blend in. I don’t want it to attract too much attention.” Her home may not be screaming look at me, but it’s definitely giving quiet luxury. Check it out below:
Tayo Aina/ YouTube
Jackie revealed that she and her fiancé, Denis Asamoah, eat their meals at their breakfast nook daily.
Tayo Aina/ YouTube
“When my fiancé and I bought this house, I really wanted a double island kitchen, and the irony is like I don’t cook at all,” she said. Jackie explained that because she’s Black, African, and a woman, she’s expected to cook, and she doesn’t like doing what’s expected. “Why can’t I be good at other things? Like that doesn’t make me a woman if I don’t cook in the [kitchen].
Tayo Aina/ YouTube
The star of the family room is the big, L-shaped white couch, and according to the YouTube star, her couch is so comfy you can melt into it.
Tayo Aina/ YouTube
Jackie’s office houses the trophies and plagues that she received from YouTube and Shopify.
Tayo Aina/ YouTube
The entrepreneur’s backyard has the same feel as the inside of the house. It has a gigantic pool and comfortable seating. “I’m very big on enjoy it while you have it,” she said.
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Feature image by Tayo Aina/ YouTube