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Next Stop...Happiness

Just over a year ago, I relocated my entire life to a town I'd never been to before. To this day, it still feels unbelievable, and is something I light up about anytime someone asks me about how I ended up here.


Here's the story of how it happened.


Originally growing up in the Midwest - split between Colorado and Iowa - I'd never seriously thought about living somewhere where I didn't already have a network of friends or family close by. In 2017, I received an offer for an opportunity to move to LA to live with a newly-acquainted friend I'd made, and I decided to take the plunge and see what would happen. I had some friends in Los Angeles when I moved out there, so I thought it would feel less alone, but quickly found my "network of friends" in the area weren't to be relied on for regular social connections. I knew when I moved out there that LA wasn't going to be my forever home, but was fully committed to staying there until I felt called to leave.


I had no idea that would end up being almost 6 years later.


Weirdly enough, there's not a specific moment that comes to mind when I think about when I officially wanted to leave. I can remember various times throughout 2019 feeling like the time was going to come soon, then off and on during the Covid pandemic I would often think to myself, "Once things stabilize a little more, I'm definitely going to start planning where I want to go next." Next thing I knew, it was 2022.


The main pull keeping me in LA was a relationship I was in. As much as I wanted to leave, I was more invested in what I thought was our ever-growing connection and the future we could build together. He was the highlight of my time there in so many ways, a bright light of joy and peace in an otherwise chaotic and jaded environment.


Unfortunately though, not even that was enough to keep me there.


October 2022, him and I took a trip to Ireland for my birthday. Before we left, I was dealing with so much stress between work, health, finances, and my living situation, that I sunk into a deep depression which I never thought I'd experience again. If you've never been to Ireland, let me just say it's as magical as it seems, and so much so that on a nature walk through the enchanted moss covered trees I had a profound moment (see life hack below) and made a promise to myself that once we returned I would start the process of figuring out my next chapter.


After our return, I tried to include my boyfriend in the decision-making process of finding a new place to live - since we'd both expressed interest in relocating - but unfortunately he showed no interest and made it clear that he felt our time together to be temporary. This was a very difficult truth to face, and something that past me would've ignored my nudges for change to put him first, but realized that for my wellbeing I would have to do what was best for me - even if it was painful . Over the next couple of months, I had multiple dreams about moving to Oregon. They were all different, but so consistent enough that every time I woke up I would immediately start researching different places. For those of you who don't know me personally, I'm a big researcher. I don't often like impulsive decisions, and prefer to see all of the details, weigh out the pros and cons, and make the most informed decision before moving forward. As I was going through this process, I stumbled upon a town by the name of Astoria.


The second I saw pictures of Astoria on Google, I had the sensation of electricity shooting through my entire body. It literally felt like I was being shocked alive again, and realized how dead I felt on the inside being in LA up until this point. Checking in every couple of days for 2 months, I continuously felt this same sensation every time I looked into this cute little coastal town I knew nothing about. "It's insane to move somewhere you've never even visited", I would tell myself, and tried 3 different times to plan a trip to visit it... all of which fell through. Taking the third attempt as a sign, I decided to have an honest conversation with myself. "WHY do you want to visit so much? What are you wanting from the experience?"


The answer: I wanted the validation that it was the RIGHT decision... even though deep down I KNEW it was the right decision. I was looking for external proof, and in realizing that I accepted that I didn't actually need the validation at all.


I decided to go all in and commit to the decision.


After making this decision, it honestly all happened so fast. Less than a month later, I found an apartment, put in my 30 days, and packed up all of my stuff and moved to this new, mystery town. And let me tell you, it was hands down one of the best decision I've made in my entire life. Yes, it did come with fear, pain, loss, and sadness, but it's also come with so much love, joy, opportunities, adventure, and more that I could have never expected nor predicted while I was still living in that previous chapter.


Astoria Oregon photo by Becca Briggs

 

This story might seem a little random, but it's been on the forefront of my mind lately as I just found myself in a familiar, smaller-scaled, situation.


I've been guilty of staying in undesirable places for far too long, typically in hopes that things will eventually get better, as I sink deeper into feeling stuck, drained, upset, and depressed.. until I'm a shell of a human. I used to literally take pride in staying until I had nothing left to give, thinking it was best or noble to stay loyal and committed until things got bad enough to the point where it was unredeemable. But let's be honest... settling for misery is not a noble act.


When I found myself in my recent predicament of feeling excessively stuck, stressed, overwhelmed, and defeated, I noticed that I felt similar to how I did when I first realized I didn't want to stay in LA any further. Instinctively, I found myself asking one specific question that I've since realized I naturally do with these moments and has now become a "life hack" in learning how to navigate change.


"How would I feel if [insert current situation] continued every day, without changing, for the rest of my life?"


I ask myself this, then reflect on it. If the thought of my current job, relationship dynamic, energy level/mood, lifestyle, etc. staying the same forever feels heavy, nauseating, or panic-inducing, it means it's time for a change. Everything changed the moment I asked this on that hike in Ireland, and it's done the same every time I've asked this since when realizing it's time to change or let go of something in my life.


We can find a million reasons and excuses to keep ourselves stuck in our current situations, waiting for the ifs and maybes of what COULD happen, but if we have even just one that influences us to do different, it can often be the powerful catalyst needed to completely change our lives, and give us the confidence needed to push through to MAKE IT happen.


The next important thing is to then COMMIT to actually making the changes necessary to better your situation and support what you want instead - EVEN IF it feels scary. The awareness of the change is a big part, but the action steps to support that change, big or small, are what truly counts in helping you get there.


I'm telling you though, even if a change is scary, in my experience it's ALWAYS turned out better than it was before.


If you feel stuck in your life, I invite you to try this technique on your own, in both minor and major situations. And if you'd like some deep support along the way - especially with collaborating to create effective, tangible action steps that you'll actually follow through with and experiencing deep inner change work to transmute any old attachments, beliefs, and emotions you don't want to experience anymore - I invite you to look into my Deep Dive session as a powerful resource.

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