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.