I was living the so-called American dream. I was making $70k a year in a fun job with people my age. I had a decent apartment that was close to work, the beach, and all the fun things Los Angeles has to offer. My family and friends were nearby. Why would I ever want to leave this behind?
The downside, my boyfriend and I were long distance. He was traveling the world.
At that point, he was living in New Zealand.
I thought he would come home, and we’d continue living the American dream. We would live in LA. He’d get a job. Down the road we would get a dog. Eventually we would buy a house. Get married and have kids.
Sounds pretty normal right?
That plan came tumbling down, when he said, "I want to get the Australian Working Holiday Visa."
I was sad but reassured myself it would only add a few more months to the schedule. We'd be back on track in no time.
How I decided to move to Australia
While he was there, communication was minimal, which made the thought of waiting for another four months more difficult.
A 19 hour time difference left me with a lot of alone time to think.
What if I also got a working holiday visa and moved to abroad?
Naturally, I thought of all the reasons I couldn't move Australia.
- I have too many obligations here
- I still had tons of debts (Student loans... Oh, and those pesky credit cards from college!)
- My family needs me
- My friends are going to be getting married
- I’ll have FOMO (was this even a term in 2011?)
- What would I do for money
- What would I do with my stuff
- I'm so close to paying off my car
- Plus a million more reasons
On the flip side, it was an exciting idea, but it didn’t make any sense logically. I had everything going for me in LA. I was on a life path to continue checking off the imaginary boxes: House, dog, marriage, kids, etc.
THE WHAT IFS HOLDING ME BACK
When I was alone in my apartment, my mind would veer off to endless scenarios about moving to Australia. I called this, the what ifs.
What if I pay off my debts? (I had about $20K in loans and credit card debt). What if I can't pay off my debt?
What if I go to Australia, how much money do I need to live there? At least 10K? Couldn't I use that for a down payment?
What about my family? My nephews and my nieces were growing. Would they forget me if I left? Worse, what if something does happen to my family? What if nothing happens to my family, would I regret not going to Australia?
What about my friends? I could miss important life events like weddings and Coachella! OMG, what if someone gets pregnant? What if they do could I afford to buy a ticket home?
And my job? I had been working my butt off for five years, and I was going to get promoted soon. Could I leave a secure job? How easy would it be to get a job there? What if I couldn't get a job in my field would I have to settle working at a grocery store?
This last part was the scariest: What if Chris and I move in together and we don’t like each other? Or he doesn't want me?
THE DECIdiNG FACTOR
After about a couple weeks of overthinking, positive thoughts crept into my crazy mind. I still had the"what-ifs", but I started to dream of moving to Australia. In those dreams, it somehow worked out, and my mindset changed.
All my fears turned into excitement. Everything could go wrong, but everything could work out for the best too. It was thrilling!
LIVING FOR MYSELF
It's astonishing how many things we do because we think it's what we're meant to do. But embracing this opportunity made me feel empowered, and I realized I don't need to be on the same path as everyone else.
Living my life for myself is this best thing I could do regardless of the what would or wouldn't happen.
On September 20th, 2012, my boyfriend and I boarded a flight to Australia. We planned to stay for six months, but within the first four months of living there, we decided to stay.
Spoiler, we lived there for nearly four years!
When making unpopular choices in life, we will feel uncomfortable. Our defense mechanism kicks in and will tell you why you can't do or be something. But leaning into the discomfort and negativity will uncover our power and build our self-confidence.
Don't lear fear hold you back from doing what you thought was the impossible.
Have you ever faced a life-changing decision? Did you decide to let the opportunity pass or did you embrace the unknown?