Was Quitting My Job and Moving to New York a Mistake?

About 5 years ago, I was working as a personal trainer at a small gym chain in Rocklin, CA. I was fresh out of college, so of course, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. But a career that aligned with my kinesiology degree seemed appropriate. I wasn’t extremely content with my situation; living back at home, working a job I wasn’t thrilled about, freshly out of a three year relationship, the whole post-college deal. Needless to say, I was compelled to make a change. So, I did what many people want to do but few actually follow through with — I quit my job, packed up my car, and drove to LA.

Call it luck, hustle, or both, but within a month, I had a new life in Santa Monica. I got another personal training job at a prestigious gym, an apartment less than a mile from the beach, and a sweet new single speed road bike to get me around town (the bike has since been stolen). Granted, I was splitting rent with one other guy and living in a studio apartment which housed our bunk beds for maximum space efficiency. That being said, I would describe my means of living during this time period to be humble at best, but I had no complaints.

I up and left my small town life, moved to a bigger city, got a better job, and established a more desirable life. No regrets.

Leaving Northern CA for Southern CA with no job and no place to live turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. But, as the natural progression seems to go, after about 4 years in LA, I found myself once again, aching for change. I was commuting 3+ hours per day to a job that I didn’t enjoy and getting paid a mediocre salary with which the majority went to fuel for my commute and rent for the apartment that I rarely got to enjoy.

Again, I was discontented. The logical next step — find a new job. But, I can’t say I always make the most logical decisions. I do, however, make adventurous ones. During this long period of unhappiness, my girlfriend and I had been kicking around the idea of leaving our “comfortable” lives in LA that were causing us so much misery. Life’s short, if you have the power to do so, why not change something you’re dissatisfied with? So that’s what we did.

From that time on, life turned into a whirlwind that was capped off by us moving across the country, Los Angeles to New York, only 2 months after making the decision. We quit our jobs, moved out of our apartments, sold our cars, packed up everything we could into 4 bags each and hopped a train that took us all the way to Penn Station in New York City.

As I mentioned above, I had made a drastic life move once before (Northern CA to Southern CA), but this was different. When I moved to LA, overall, I had a decent grasp on the city. My brother had lived there before, I attended college in Northridge, I had some friends around the city, I was comfortable with the people and it’s surroundings. Moving to Los Angeles was a natural progression. You know what’s not natural? A nice, born and raised, California boy transplanted into a city that smears “nice” on their bagels for breakfast. New York city is fast, rugged, impatient, and cares little about your vibes or what type of energy you protrude. A stark contrast from the fun-in-the-sun, health and fitness focused, zen mentality of the beach city, Santa Monica.

But, $186 dollars and one 3 day train ride later, there I was, New York City. And now, one week in, I have an apartment in the hipster capitol of New York, Williamsburg, and my current daily commute is to the local coffee shop of my choosing (currently Gotan as I write this article) as I spend my time applying to jobs which I pray I won’t find myself to be miserable working in a year from now. But applying to jobs never made anyone money, so I’ll need to snag one of these any day now.

I went from skimping on clothes in the sunshine while catching a tan in CA, to skimping on clothes in my wardrobe because they won’t fit in my shared room in NY. From the scent of the salty ocean air as I walk down the streets in Santa Monica, to the suspiciously salty heat rising from the manhole covers on the streets of Manhattan. From a comfortable, yet eventually discontented life in Los Angeles, for an uncomfortable, and wildly uncertain, life in New York City. And, as crazy as it may be, I’m perfectly content with my decision.

So, I’ll let you answer the question — Was quitting my job and moving to New York a mistake?