Welcome back to the lengthy narrative on how I’ve found myself more than halfway across the country from home in Southern California.
Part one dove into the messy, oft-complicated route that got me to Nashville in the first place. In this half, we’ll navigate the rest of the journey. Luckily, it’s smooth(er) sailing from here on out.
The Road to Music City
The story left off at a meeting I had back in April with a few higher-ups at work that focused on my potential relocation to Nashville. The pinnacle of that meeting was reached when a very important deadline was presented to me.
To put you in the right mindset (which, btw was a completely frenzied one), here’s a little insight into the timeframe I was given . . . It was around 1:00 in the afternoon on a Thursday when we had the meeting to discuss the move. They needed a firm yes or no the very next morning (for reasons I don’t feel like writing out here) no later than 8 AM. That was less than 24 hours to make a confident, level-headed decision. 19 hours to be exact, eight of which would likely be spent sleeping. That gave me very little time to rationalize the move and everything going on in my head, to speak to my parents and present this opportunity in a poised way, and to seriously weigh the pros and cons of this huge life change.
I remember feeling almost sick to my stomach. I couldn’t tell if it was a reflection of the excitement I felt at the prospect of my dreams being realized, or that maybe, just maybe, I had been dreaming of doing this great big thing that, when it came down to it, I actually didn’t really want.
Whatever was going on internally I pushed aside, smiling and assuming my role as cool, easygoing Marissa as I left the room. But as soon as my managers were out of eyeshot, I ran out of the office doors, down the stairs and out to the building’s courtyard where I called my mom and immediately started to cry.
Clearly, I was processing things well. Calm, cool, and collected? Try anxious, scared, and scatter-brained.
That phone call home is a little blurry, but this is what I do remember: I was sitting on a cement perch, staring up at a clear blue California sky. It was hot; I was sweating (nothing surprising there). Tears were, no joke, pouring as I listened to my wonderful and encouraging parents tell me that of course they would miss me, but that I needed to do this. In fact, I remember them refusing to let me pass this up.
And as overwhelmed and uneasy as I might have been in that moment, I knew they were right.
The worst that could happen, they told me, was that I hated it and I came home. And if that was worst-case scenario, I thought I just might be able to handle it.
It’s obviously no surprise that I said yes to the move since, hello, this entire post is about moving to Tennessee.
If you recall from part one, after saying yes I had only two weeks to physically be in the Nashville office to get into the thick of training the new hire and adjust to working remotely from the team I had just spent the last two years learning to love up close.
It was a chaotic two weeks, let me tell you that. The short list of things I needed to check off included finding a subleaser for my current apartment, finding a new apartment/potential roommate in Nashville (a city, mind you, I had only been to once and when I was maybe seven), arranging to have my car picked up and shipped across the country, and packing up what was my life up until that point.
Naturally, things did not go according to plan. The biggest upset was that my car conveniently died the week before I was set to move. Since we were going to pack my little sedan full of clothing, shoes, and home stuff, this minor setback really threw our original plan for a loop. It began to look like I was going to have to start completely fresh out there.
I swiftly learned that flexibility and acceptance are vital in order to maintain some level of sanity during a transformative time like this. And though I grew up a lot in those weeks, I also realized how completely capable I was to begin with. I tapped into a competent side of me I didn’t even know was there, and for someone who never really felt like a true adult, it was pretty awesome to see how grown-up I had become.
The largest hurdle I had to jump was saying a “see you later” to those closest to me. If you know me even a little bit, you know that my friends are the loves of my life. Whether they are friends I’ve had a lifetime or just a few short years, they’ve completely shaped me into the person I am today and I am forever indebted to them because of it. They’ve been with me through some of the most monumental moments in my life, so not having them there physically with me as I made this move was a hard pill to swallow.
Somehow, I maintained my composure up until the last week. I cried as I said goodbye to a couple of friends over a pancake breakfast on the Sunday before the move, then I cried a little harder as I squeezed my dad tightly at the airport a week later.
[Quick note: My dad couldn’t move me out since our diabetic pug requires shots two times a day. Kind of a life or death thing with her, and we think she’s pretty great and want her to live as long as possible. If she wasn’t sick, he would have 100% been on that flight with my mom and me.]
I knew that these little goodbyes were nothing permanent and that the sadness I felt at leaving these wonderful people wasn’t even close to stopping me from making this move. But these partings still tugged at my heart a little more than I thought they would, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me a bit less enthusiastic about it all.
To my genuine surprise, things fell quickly into place in Nashville. Prior to moving, I had successfully found and signed a lease on a studio apartment in the city with the help of someone who became an instant friend here. I also located via the interweb (lol) a new/used car that I felt could be a reliable (and cute, duh) way to get around my new city. Within two days of landing, I had the keys to my apartment and the keys to a darling Hyundai Tucson.
My new coworkers turned out to be more welcoming than I could have imagined. Old friends from high school and college were quick to reach out, either recommending someone to get in touch with that was local to Nashville or who were local themselves, and I jumped on the opportunity to socialize.
As someone whose happiness relies heavily on forming and having solid relationships, I knew my largest enemy with this move was being lonely. And I’m happy to report back that “alone” is not a feeling that’s been felt just yet.
If I had to sum up what I’ve learned from this less-than-perfect journey in a couple words, those words would be these:
If it’s important to you, keep moving in that direction, no matter what might be at play against you. And there will always, always be a force pushing opposite of your progress. That much is guaranteed.
I’m a firm believer that nothing in this life that’s worthy will come easy. I think the struggle is the universe’s way of measuring worth . . . it makes you think long and hard about the things you want.
Are you prepared to spend a whole lot of time and a whole lot of emotion to reach this goal? To obtain this thing? Will this battle be worth that time and those emotions in the end?
I wanted this thing — to move. I knew it in the deepest parts of me. I knew this thing was going to make me a better person. It was going to open me up and challenge me. It was going to push me like I’ve never been pushed before.
But I knew it was worth it if I could become a better version of myself because of it.
I spent almost four years fighting for this thing. That’s a lot of time.
I felt potential. And glimmers of hope. And then I felt that hope get crushed time and time again. That’s a lot of emotion.
But here I am, sitting on the other side of that battle. And I have never been more proud of myself. I don’t think in my entire life I’ve ever felt this amount of self-respect.
And this feeling . . . this self-love that I’ve uncovered . . . boy has it made this long, exhausting, messy journey worth it in the end.
So keep going.