It’s been one whole year since I uprooted my life and moved to Atlanta. I’ve learned so much and still think it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Before moving, I had a full-time job working in a field that didn’t fulfill me, so I decided that I’d rather take a leap of faith now instead of looking back 20 years down the line regretting that I didn’t try. I also knew starting over in a new city would give me the opportunity to spread my wings and really test my independence.
As moving day was getting closer and people were showering me in prayers and accolades for making such a bold move, I kept hearing one phrase that confused me, “You’re so brave.” It was mostly because I didn’t grasp how challenging moving to a new city would be, but once I did it and was experiencing it, I understood how much courage it actually took.
I moved to Atlanta with only what could fit in my car and no job. The only plan I had was to figure it out once I got there. I had lots of highs, lots of lows, had some fun experiences, shed enough tears to fill an olympic sized pool (and still do occasionally), met new people, and almost gave up and went home–all while trying to survive a pandemic. Whewww!
These twelve months broke me down and read me for filth, but at the same time, built my character and made me so much stronger than I was before. I learned about myself and am a new Tia. Whether I choose to stay in Atlanta, go back home to New Jersey, or try a new city, I can fully and honestly say that I don’t regret taking that initial leap of faith.
Culture Shock | Much to my surprise, I experienced a little bit of culture shock when moving to Atlanta. I was not used to seeing black people EVERYWHERE and in all different spaces. I remember walking into Starbucks and seeing the place filled with people that looked like me having meetings, working on their computers, drinking fancy drinks and working behind the counter. It’s cool because there is so much culture everywhere you go and it made me feel comfortable.
The City of Hustle | Atlanta is the city of hustle. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE either has a side hustle in addition to their main job or is starting a business (or both). This mentality starts from a young age too. It’s common to see kids sell bottles of waters in the street for a few dollars or whatever people are willing to give them. Being surrounded by people with a similar mindset makes it the perfect place to network and meet other creatives.
My First Place | Signing the lease to my apartment was the high of my year. Knowing my leap of faith was worth it, made moving in feel that much better. This experience was something that I wish my close friends and family were here for, but it’s a sacrifice I made when I decided to move. Let’s just say FaceTime is the greatest invention since sliced bread. On the other hand, I’m lucky enough to have a few relatives in Atlanta that were there to help me with my move as well.
Friends/Dating | Everyone says making friends once you’re an adult is hard…and it is, but not impossible. You have a deep connection with your high school and college friends because you’ve known them for years, they’ve seen you at your worst and watched you grow up too. Meeting new people is difficult because now you have to start all over, but now you get to create new memories with them and expand your circle. In the adult world, you typically make friends that are your coworkers, which is how I made my first friend. You also meet people when you go out and about. For example, if you go out for drinks, you’re bound to meet other people who are friendly and probably looking for friends too. You just have to be bold and speak up. Then you can also try apps like Bumble BFF.
As far as dating goes….*insert eye roll*. Men (if that’s what you want to call them) act the same no matter where you go, but I think that deserves it’s own blog post.
The Pandemic | Coronavirus has been the worst. I visualized my first year in Atlanta as exploring the city, looking cute in someone’s section at the club, toasting with bottomless mimosas at brunch, dancing with somebody’s son at a day party and living my best 20-something year old life, but that hasn’t been the case fully. I did get a chance to do some of those things just not to the extent that I wanted to.
I also experienced losing my job due to the pandemic, which was devastating because I had just signed my lease 2 months before. It was a scary moment. I shed my tears, wiped them away, burned my sage, prayed on the situation and hustled to find my next opportunity.
While Atlanta is now open things are not 100%, but I am looking forward to the new normal and having a more exciting second year here.
All in all, I’ve learned so much from this experience and would do it again in a new city if I had to. If you are thinking about moving and starting over, 10/10 would recommend. I always found comfort in the fact that if things didn’t work out for me, I could always go back home. Can’t wait to see what year 2 brings.