How I Overcame My Fear of Moving to a New City
October 31, 2017
The following is an excerpt from Permission to Leap by Bri Seeley. Seeley is a women’s life coach, author, and speaker with a mission to help women create a life that inspires them by turning their inner vision into their outer reality. Her book will be available on Nov. 14, 2017, but you can pre-order a copy and listen to her podcast here.
It was January, 2013. I was seven months deep into my leap to relocate from Olympia, Washington. For seven full months, I planned and schemed about my escape from the gray of the Pacific Northwest, envisioning my life and all the possibilities awaiting me in Chicago, Phoenix, New York, and Los Angeles.
In those seven months I had (unknowingly) gone through all the stages of the leap: deciding what was most important to me, jumping off the fence, talking to people about the move, and getting into alignment. I was so aligned that clarity kicked in, and I zeroed my sights on the City of Angels as my destination.
The ball was rolling. The momentum was palpable. I could taste the excitement. To ensure I didn’t back out, I continuously packed a box or two per week since the moment of my commitment. I was all in, or so I thought. And with my self-imposed deadline to move looming a mere ten weeks in the future, Mama Seeley came to visit.
“There was something about hearing my fears voiced by someone else, outside my own brain, which made them so much more real.”
It was a standard mom visit—cooking nourishing food, kitty time, exploring sights and sewing—up until the last day.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to move.”
I could feel the instant panic set into my throat and stomach. “What?”
“I worry. Los Angeles is a big city. It’s scary. What if something happens? You’re my little girl. You have an amazing job and community here. Maybe you should just move to Seattle and then travel more often for your business.”
Now, to be fair, she wasn’t saying anything new. I was already internally experiencing all these thoughts and fears. But hearing the words spoken aloud in the Physical World was entirely new—and from my mom, no less. There was something about hearing my fears voiced by someone else, outside my own brain, which made them so much more real.
This was a woman who supported all my crazy ideas, including going to college four hours away from home a year early without having toured the school. She barely questioned me moving to Italy without knowing the language or a single soul. She was the one who pulled up the Internet and told me where Olympia was located after I accepted a job there. And while she often posed questions to help provide clarity and discernment, I couldn’t recall a time where she took a hard stand in opposition to a life change I was so invested in.
I was so invested, in fact, I had stopped paying my mortgage to be eligible for a short sale; I was ready to walk away from my first home.
THIS MUST BE A SIGN!!!
The Universe must be speaking directly to me through my mom to let me know what a terrible idea this is. Yeah, that was it. It was totally a sign.
This small conversation catapulted me into a mental battle of epic proportions. The pendulum swung moment by moment between the extremes of staying in the safety of what I knew and the complete upheaval of my normal to reestablish myself in Los Angeles. I vacillated between living in discord with my soul’s desire to be in a more vibrant surrounding to an intense impulse to throw what I could fit in my car, drive away, and never look back.
Day after day, this inner anguish tore me apart. Move or don’t move. Stay or go. Commit or bail.
Even though I had been preparing for this for seven months and thought I was 110 percent in, the reality was I still had escape’s phone number on speed dial. I could wake up tomorrow and, with a grand “just kidding,” let it all disappear.
Yes, I’d have to face my disappointment and the embarrassment. Yes, I’d have to answer all the questions about why I didn’t go. Yes, I’d have to heal my broken heart.
But it wouldn’t be so scary. I could cozy up in my comfort zone, pull my curtains to close out the gray, curl up with the kitties on my lap, and ignore the scream for expansion raging in my head all hours of the night and day. I could be OK staying here.
After all, Olympia was my happy place for seven years. I had a community here. My public profile increased significantly, and my designs were being recognized. It would be easier to stay.
“What do I want? Why was it so difficult to answer this simple question without all the pros and cons getting in the way?”
The week following Mama Seeley’s visit, I boarded a flight to Los Angeles. I booked my ticket months earlier to watch my sister Makayla sing live for the very first time on her choir tour. Not to mention, it was a brilliant move on my past self’s part to help me explore my soon-to-be future self’s new home.
While my past self could never have anticipated the conundrum in which I found myself, this trip was exactly what I needed to get off the fence once and for all. It was a do-or-die trip. I was either going to return to Washington to finish packing and move to Los Angeles, or I was going to start looking for a new place to live in Seattle (because if I was staying in Washington, it would still mean selling my house and would definitely require moving to a larger city).
I arrived in Los Angeles to brilliant February weather (much different from the rainstorm I faced on the drive to SeaTac airport). I acquired my rental car, drove to my Airbnb, and, having arrived too early, walked to Silverlake with my yoga mat and journal in hand.
What do I want? Why was it so difficult to answer this simple question without all the pros and cons getting in the way? That day, sitting under the sun, I wanted a simple answer, yet none came. Or, at least, no answer came immediately or in the way I was expecting.
My days on that trip were filled with sunshine, new and old friends, grilled cheese, explorations, sightseeing, and more. It was on this trip I confirmed my roommate and found two women to share an office. This exploration led me to discover which neighborhood was right for me to live in. And with my toes in the sand, watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean, I recommitted to my vision.
The answer to “What do I want?” had not presented itself in an immediate, declarative way because the entire trip was my answer: the rays of sun on my skin, the laughter shared with friends, the opportunities lining up seamlessly, and the grilled cheese.
I returned to Washington with the escape hatch closed once and for all. I was ready to burn the bridge leading back to my old life with only one option ahead—moving to Los Angeles. My Universal double-check moment enabled me to remember why I committed to my leap in the first place and why, no matter how many fears I possessed, it was still my top priority.
Once I did this, everything fell into place quicker than I thought possible. Two short days after leaving LA, I got a call from my new roommate, Lamar. “I found our new home. It’s everything.” Three weeks after I was pulling into my new city with a full car and two terrified kitties … ready to make Los Angeles my home.