I Relocated in the Middle of a Pandemic. Here's What I Learned.
How a leap of faith led to a journey of self-growth.by Racquel Coral
Twelve long years after I moved back to my hometown of Chicago as a new college grad, I finally did it. I took a leap of faith and relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina. Only thing is, I decided to do it in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One night in May 2020, I decided that I was going to make the move. I found myself unable to fall asleep and, around 3:30 a.m., I felt something in my spirit telling me to move to Charlotte.
The next morning, I sat with those feelings. Before I could talk myself out of moving — like I had done numerous times before — I told myself that it was time. Time for me to stop settling for a life that no longer served me, and take a chance on something new. A chance at exploring something that I had only dreamed of.
I can recall the day I moved back to Chicago after graduation. I told myself that I would only be there for a year, and then I'd move back to Atlanta. A city that helped me to discover who I am, and tested my limits to see what I was made of. A city that represented promise and hope for a bright future.
Well, one year turned into 12, and I found myself becoming increasingly miserable in Chicago and craving change. Now, I can't blame anyone else for staying there all that time but me. My reasons were always along the lines of:
"My family needs me."
"Let me get my ducks in a row first."
"I'm dating someone, and I'm not sure how this is going to affect our relationship."
And each one of those reasons was an excuse that was rooted in fear.
Though I was born and raised in Chicago, I knew it wasn't my home. But I was too afraid of leaving. I was scared to move where I didn't know anyone. And I didn't want to run the risk of having to come back if things didn't work out. So I stayed.
It wasn't until that night back in May that I seriously considered leaving. Since the start of the pandemic, I had nothing but time to reevaluate my life. And the fact of the matter was that I was unhappy, and had been for quite some time.
So when I said that I was relocating, I stuck with it.
A leap of faith
Now, I can't explain why I chose Charlotte. I had only ever visited a few times and didn't know many people there. Still, I just felt something instructing me to go.
Thankfully, my employer approved me to work remotely indefinitely. And, rather than finding an apartment before leaving, I decided to move in with my best friend and her family in Charlotte while I searched for my own place.
I didn't want to delay this move, so I packed only what I could take with me on a plane and told myself that I'd figure the rest out once I got there.
Being that this was the first relocation of my adult life, I had high expectations. I envisioned myself instantly finding my tribe, falling in love with my new city, frequenting all the hot spots, and establishing myself among many social and professional circles. And I was wrong.
Relocating in the middle of a pandemic made things quite difficult. Due to safety precautions, I was limited in where I could go, what I could do, and how I could interact with others. On top of that, it'd been a while since I had to meet new people and didn't exactly remember how.
There have been moments since relocating when I wanted to give up and go back — especially when I was surrounded by my friend's family and their close friends. It just makes me miss mine more than I thought. But, when I have those feelings, I am reminded that I made this decision because it was time for me to embark on a life that I had always dreamed of.
Although we are living in a time when we can't move around like we're accustomed to, I hold onto the fact that it won't last forever. And I've realized that moving during this time was supposed to teach me something.
Lessons I’ve learned
Being in a new environment during the pandemic has taught me the importance of grounding myself. It has forced me to be still and search within. I have become more intentional about what I want — not just at present, and not just in this new city, but out of my entire life.
This new space has helped to release many of the blockages that I had. In turn, this has caused me to overflow with ideas, courage and success. With everything being at a standstill, I can unlock many of the doors of my mind and become open to all possibilities. I'm reminded that I am capable of not just anything, but everything.
I have found myself appreciating patience, trusting the process, and leaning into the unknown. I have used this time to slow down, take it all in, and to feel everything fully.
More importantly, though, moving in the middle of the world being shut down has taught me to see things through. Historically, I have always been an instant gratification type of girl. The first sign of opposition, I am usually out. But being in this space has forced me to settle myself for once and see something from start to finish.
I look forward to the day the world opens back up so I can gain an appreciation for my new home, have new experiences and make new memories.
Until then, I will continue being still, remaining optimistic, and celebrating the fact that I accomplished one of the hardest things that I've ever set out to do.