starting over. this is going to be a long one.

It is almost 3:oo am but I felt like I had to sit down and write. I know how to spell and try to compose sentences that make sense, but I cannot promise anything right now.

Moving halfway across country by yourself to a new city where you don’t know anyone isn’t easy. I didn’t expect easy. In fact, I expected that this would be really hard. I knew I’d be lonely. I knew I’d be really confused and wonder what I was doing. I knew I’d have moments where I thought to myself “how did I get here?” And I was right. I still have no idea how any of this happened.

I do know that I love Chicago. The people are wonderful, the buildings are beautiful, the snow is magical, and the city is alive. But being all alone 2,000 miles away from everything and everyone I know is very, very hard. This isn’t like going away to college. I am not in a dorm. I am not going to class every day. I am on my own in a city where everyone around me has their own circle of friends. Their own lives. Their own routines. And here I am, smack in the middle of it all.

I have met a handful of wonderful people. For three weeks in a new town, that’s not so bad. I grabbed lunch with a friend who took me to my sister’s friend’s place to get my things back {from the spirits}. I have lunch plans Thursday & Friday. I was just invited out for Saturday night by a girl that I met today.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday plans. Big improvement from going to lunch last Saturday and spending the rest of the weekend by myself. But I know more of those weekends will occur. And I am ok with some alone time. But when you work at home, you can go days without any human interaction, and that isn’t good for you. A day or two can be nice. 3-4 days? Not great. While I can see being good friends with some of the people I have met, for now they are really great people that I am getting to know. Thankfully, I’ve had my lil’ kitten. He has been a good friend to me.

I know it will take some time to find my place, make friends, and form relationships with people. It will take time to have a life here, feel like I belong, and form a routine. Is this making me stronger? Absolutely. Am I enjoying how difficult this is? A little bit. As lonely as I may be, I am happier than I have been in a while. I do believe that if you struggle, you will end up happier in the end. Having everything handed to you doesn’t give you any time to long for something. As a result, I believe that you cannot really really appreciate all the little things.

I miss my people. I miss my cats.

I miss my pup.

I miss him so much. We video chatted tonight {with my sister} and I just wanted to cry. He did cry. And that broke my heart. The first time I saw him on video I cried too. I am going to plan a trip to LA some time this March or early April, and cannot wait to see him.

To completely disclose what was going on before I left, I feel like I should tell you {even though you may have figured it out} that J and I were seeing each other again before I left. It’s complicated and I just cannot go in to 7.5 years of a relationship, but there is so much there. I am not 100% sure of what we were or what we are, but we were and are definitely something. It feels as if we always will be. I just don’t know what any of it means right now. I do know that he’s in LA and I’m in Chicago. I know that I cannot go back to LA.

I was so unhappy the past few years. Even when I was happy I was unhappy. I am on this mission to be happy, and even though things are hard, I really am happy. Right now, I feel like this is where I am supposed to be. I know it is. I am scared, alone, confused, and happy.

Half the time, I still have no idea how I got here, how I’ll make it, or what I’m doing. But it’s all part of the adventure. Part of the journey. This past Monday marked 3 weeks in Chicago. That means that this coming Monday up will mark one month here.

As scary as this is, I am so glad that I did this. I don’t want to look back with any regrets. My mom has told me at least a few times that if she could go back and do it all over, she would have left LA. She said it again tonight. She always wanted to leave and never did. I was so afraid that I was going to be that girl, and am so glad that isn’t my story. I love that one day when I have a daughter {or son} I can tell her {or him} how I just picked up by myself {with the kitten, of course} and moved 2,000 miles away.

If there is something you have been wanting to do but you aren’t sure if you should, please go for it. Out of everyone I know, I would be the one person least likely to pick up and take off by themself, and here I am. Leaving LA was something I talked about for years. Sometimes you may need to step outside your tiny little box. As cheesy as this may sound, figure out what it is you want, and follow your dream. It will be scary but in the end, you will find your place. You might even end up happy.

Leave a comment
  • I admire your strength and courage; it takes both to do what you're doing. Enjoy the journey and be open to what each day brings you. I am so looking forward to the day my son and I can pack up and leave this place! Everything will work out for you in the end; it always does. You will look back and be so pleased with yourself. Breath a bit easier knowing that you were brave enough to do what was best for you. You go girl! Best wishes sweetheart.

  • Join a group, get out an force yourself to be even more social than you normally would be. Meetup is good for that. It takes time. It is a brave thing to uproot yourself but it is in those big changes we make, that we grow the most.

  • I wish you could see me right now… I am giving you a standing ovation!

    It takes a lot to do what you've done… trust me, we talked about it, you know I wish I could do the same thing…

    You did the right thing. You will be happy. You deserve to be happy. It will come.

    P.S. Love that Leona Lewis song! I discovered it right after… you know… and added it to my iPod.

    I'm also enjoying Undertow by The Fray, Beside You by Marianas Trench, and Walk Away by Ben Harper.

  • This post is so inspiring =)

    I'm going through something similar except for the whole move to another city thing. I just ended my 6 year relationship. And because we had mostly mutual friends that were his friends before me, I lost most of my friends. So although I'm still in the same city, I'm kinda alone. It takes some getting used to, but I'm hell bent on finding true happiness. I've branched out and met new people, am dying to meet more, and will survive.

    I'm sorry you've had a rough start.. but you're right, in the end, it's all going to be sooo worth it!

  • Danielle, I give you so much credit for taking a chance and doing what you did. You also picked a great city, so that definitely helps! I’m so glad that you’re making friends and hopefully the feeling of being part of it all continues to grow. I know what a sweet person you are and that will only attract the same. I’m sending hugs your way and I’m glad that you’re finding a way to make it all work.

  • And this my friend is one of the MANY reasons why I LOVE you!!!! 🙂

  • You go girl! This post is very inspiring! You should be very proud of yourself for what you are doing! You are living your best life I believe! I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before Chicago feels like your complete home! 🙂

  • Glad to hear your happy where your at. It is sometimes difficult to step out our comfortable lil boxes & only a hand full of us actually do it. Bravo to you for having the courage to take this leap of faith. I hope you find what your looking for…although it seems that you already might have 🙂

  • Girl- you are rockin' it so hard. Bravo to you….great post. I'm so glad to be one of the first people to introduce you to the city! You'll do amazing things here- I just know it.

    Dinner soon!

  • Good for you for being so brave. You should be very proud of yourself!

    "Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts" – Arnold Bennett

  • Wow – good for you for taking care of yourself first. That's amazingly brave. I just stumbled across your blog and I look forward to reading much more. Good luck! It can only get better from here!

  • Sounds like you have learned a lot. I hope that whatever you end up doing, this experience will stick with you and will help encourage positive changes in you.

    You are VERY lucky that you have met a lot (I know it may not feel like it – but for a few weeks, it is a LOT) of people willing to try letting you into their lives. As you mentioned, that is a rare thing in when everyone has their own lives that revolve around themselves, and you are not forced into their lives through school/work.

    – Amanda (the girl who has been doing it on her own for nearly 2 years in L.A, and who has done it several times before)

  • i know this story is going to have a happy ending!!! i'm also so glad you posted a link to this so i could discover the fabulousness of your personal blog! : ) you rock.

  • I'm so proud of you sweetie!! SO PROUD!!!! You are one tough cookie, and hopefully I'll get to see you soon!! For now, BIG HUGS!!! 🙂

  • So inspiring! I want to move to NYC or Chicago and do the same one day…I think when you are in the "right" place, everything else will just fall together naturally. Even though it will be lonely at times,seems to me like everything is slowly going to come together for you, and Chicago will be an amazing place for you and your future. So exciting!

  • I'm so glad you finally did it Danielle. And I'm so glad that you are striving for more and that while you might be scared you are HAPPY too.

    All you can do is follow your heart. The rest will find you. The best is yet to come.

  • Love Love Love your blog! The honesty is amazing! You should be so proud of yourself! I picked up and moved from Iowa to Texas and it wasn't easy, I at least had my husband to hold on to for support. Alone and on your own is bold, but also great!!

    Change is always for the better, and sometimes drastic changes are the best! You are an inspiration to take a chance! Glad I came acorss your blog!

  • For years I have heard this saying in my head….Take NO chances win NO prizes! Hang in there, you are on the right track!
    Lots of luck Design Girl!

  • I admire your ability to do that. I feel like I am pause and don't know how to hit play again.

  • When I was 24 I left for grad school across the country and I was so excited about school. But I wasn't prepared for how much I would miss everyone and how different life would be. Even though I had school to give me a routine and interaction with other people, I was so lonely. But upon my return home for the holidays, a relative told me that I was so different and so grown up, even after just a few months. That meant so much to me…I'm so glad she told me that!

    So I know it's hard! But you will grow from this in ways you never knew you would. You'll be a better, stronger person and you'll learn so much about yourself! I wish you all the best in this new chapter of your life!

  • This is my first time to your site and your post hit me like a wrench in my gut. The Grass is Always Greener, eh? I have a fabulous life-really I do- one that a lot of people might envy BUT there are a few things standing out there that I sold myself short on … things that only I can move forward to where they need be. I envy you for having the courage to move like you did- Chicago is a long way and VERY different than the West Coast- still, there's a whole lot of fun and good people there- I hope you enjoy it!

  • This is something that I'm trying to overcome. The possibility that it is time to move. I am married, so I know that if I move I won't be completely alone…but it's scary to think that I will no longer be anywhere near the people I'm near now. I appreciate you sharing your honest feelings. It really helps me to realize that maybe it will be good if it comes time for a big change. I may even be..dare I say it…happy.

  • I am so proud of you!!! I wish I would have stepped out like this when I was single and tried something new. I too born and raised in CA (the Valley!)…I am encouraging my Boys to move to another city and live for a year when they get out of college and experience new places…you have done more in 3 weeks than most people alone in a new city would do…keep it up! Now, why dont you just go get the Dog Baby and bring him to Chicago???!!! xoxo

  • Danielle, have comfort in knowing that God has everything planned out for you. You are obviously where you are for a reason – and I'm sure He has some great people all "lined up" for you to meet! 😀

    I swear… if I lived in Chicago, I have a feeling that we would be great friends. I know that may sound crazy coming from a blog reader – but, after reading for a while now – we seem so similar! LOL

    I, myself, have been contemplating a lot of changes in my own life (whether to make those changes, that is).

    I just have to remember to "Let Go. And let God." – let Him guide me, let my own worries/uneasiness go.

  • Danielle, I love this! I am so proud of what you are doing. I was never brave enough and chose the easy path and stayed in my hometown and got married. I don't regret my decision at all, cause I know it's where I belong, but I would like to think that if I didn't feel that way, that I would have had the strength to be like you.

    I really enjoyed out chat at PDP the other night. If you ever need someone to talk to, I am on ICQ, ichat, msn, and a few others, just e-mail me!

  • I love this post! It takes a lot to open up about what *really* makes you happy. Sometimes we find our selves doing what we "should" do and not what we WANT to do, and I think that is sad! Congrats on leaving your comfort zone and doing something for ONLY you. I am happy you're happy and the rest of the pieces will fall into place as they should!

  • Danielle, I'm so proud of you! Seriously, you have taken such a big step and I am certainly it will shape the rest of your life in a positive way.

    I think that nothing worth having is ever easy, and I also think the things that are the hardest are the ways we really grow and change. This journey may be uncomfortable and challenging but I guarantee you (and I know you've already seen this!) that you will reap some major rewards.

    I never, ever thought I'd survive the 3000 mile move from SC to WA… but I did. And while it was uncomfortable and hard, it was 100% necessary. I'm a better person for it. Being a military wife has taught me you might be scared of your circumstances but there is always good.

    You will make friends. You'll find your own circle – you're own your way.

    Love you girl! I am here if you ever need to talk!

  • Tears. Streaming. Danielle, you are such a brave woman. Far more wise than your years. Sometimes scary can be good. Sometimes we need to push ourselves (or be pushed). Thank you for that reminder.
    Enjoy the snow. Enjoy this journey.


    P.S. I'm sure that your mom is ridiculously proud of you for going for it! 😉

  • I read this earlier today but couldn't comment. I LOVE your attitude and this post is amazing. I agree, it's important to do something you want to do. Sometimes, you have to go after what you want! Go you, girl! xoxo

  • I am so proud of you!! Seriously a move this big is not easy and a lot of people would not go out of their comfort zone like you did.

  • Good for you! It is definitely so hard to move so far from a place that you know. Right after college I left the only place I had ever lived and moved 1000 miles to FL. I had no family, but I had a few friends in the state, but not in the same city where I moved. It was so tough the first year when the people I knew were only at my job and I'm not a go out and meet new people person. I thought once I left that I'd never go back home and I was happy with that. Well life changed and I did go back to my home state and eventually my hometown. I didn't think I'd ever want to come back here, but I am happy here now. For a little while we thought we were going to have to leave again, but I'm glad that's not going to happen. Even though I'm a bit sad that I might have been able to move back to FL, I'm glad to stay right where I am. I really do appreciate it now. I'm glad you are happy stepping out of your comfort zone and I hope that continues for you. I'm glad you're enjoying Chicago!

  • Congratulations on your new found happiness. Change is so hard and scary sometimes but the end result is sometimes more than you can dream of. I'm excited to start chasing my dream this year. I'm scared and nervous but I know it will be better than I ever imagined if I just try. I'm glad you are happy. I truly believe you have to make yourself happy first! 😉

  • Congratulations on your move! You'll find your people. It might take time, but you'll find your crowd. Be proud of your strength. Not everyone can do what you're doing. Enjoy your adventure! And keep blogging about it. We want to hear your story as it unfolds. 🙂

  • I know it's tough starting over in a new town. I've done it myself a couple…but it SO gets better. And what a fabulous city you've moved to!

  • I've been in places where I should have done what you did, but didn't. That song seems to have been written for a lot of the way my life had been too!

    It's totally awesome, amazing, wonderful that you had the courage to pick up and move. Honestly. Such a brave and necessary thing to do sometimes! And, even though I don't know you, I am proud of you. It really takes strength, and having had the strength to take this first step is what will help get you through the rest of the path.

    It's all about timing. Be patient with yourself and others. I'm sure you will have good days and bad days, like you would anywhere, but don't let the bad times make you think you made a bad choice! This really is the kind of journey that the soul needs to have, so let it happen.

    Hang in there, and keep us posted!

  • hang in there and continue to follow your dreams. It's not an easy path but you're so awesome that you can do it!!! 🙂

  • What an amazing post! Good for you for following your heart when your mind begged for "security" – you will find so much growth with this move. And Chicago is an amazing city!

  • I can totally relate – I had a very similiar motivation and experience moving to LA. Talked about it for years, came for a visit, and moved permanently 4 days later. Good luck, it will get easier!

  • Oh, I am so happy. For you. For me. For life.

    You're amazing, girl! Continue on your path of happiness!

  • Wow. No words. You are wise beyond your tender years…and gosh…you've given me a kick in the pants along the way.

    Good for you Danielle. We really only do get this one life (unless, you know, you come back as a spirit…)and we all need to wake up and grab each day, you know??? So hard…and so many never do. What a sad thing to never find happiness…so glad you are finding yours!!!


  • What you did definitely takes guts! I always enjoyed Canada and was never interested in moving to the U.S. I lived in a big city (Toronto) and had everything I needed, that was until I met my husband. He offered to move North but I wound up moving to Florida.

    I have been here for 3.5 years now and enjoy it but miss my friends and family too of course. I see them now only about once per year and I'm finally starting to feel more at home here. I went through several months of not knowing anyone, having any real friends of my own (that weren't the wives of my husband's friends or his family) so that was the hardest part.

    It really does make you a stronger and more flexible person. While I'm still not entirely settled and Toronto will always be my true home, I am proud of myself as I'm sure you are of yourself by what I was able to give up. Stretching yourself shows you that you are capable of so much more if you are willing to take some risks and get out of the comfort zone.

    All the best to you and I hope Chicago is everything you dreamed of. Have fun at Oprah! 🙂