One Year.

April 4, 2018

A year ago today, I slipped off my shoes at security, placed my laptop in a tray, and walked through the metal detector. I waved goodbye to my dad and my sister, tried to keep it together until I could get my things back in order, and rounded the corner to the gate, trying not to cry.

I was moving to Los Angeles, a place I’d only been once before, with two suitcases and a vaguely hope-shaped thing in my heart. Forget getting to LAX with a dream and a cardigan; I had an address to give a cab driver and a tiny plan of what I was doing after that, but no job and no place to live. It was this crazy idea that felt right, and I was following it.

I passed through that same metal detector last week, and waved goodbye to my dad cheerfully. There was no instagram picture of a smiling Harry Styles to stop me from breaking into tears this time, but I didn’t need one. I was going back home, leaving one home for another, and I was looking forward to it.

It’s been a year of big, big changes. The girl I was last April 4th has nothing on the girl I am this April 4th. I’ve had to learn how to show up for myself. I’ve had to become my own best friend in a very real sense. I’ve gone places alone and stretched my comfort zone. I’ve been let down by people and had my heart broken and cried myself to sleep a whole bunch of times. I’ve spent way more money than I wanted to and then developed the painful-but-necessary budgeting habits that prevent me from doing that again.

Moving somewhere where I only vaguely knew a handful of people has been forced me to be really ballsy. When my landlord was uncertain about approving me for the apartment, I had to stand up for myself. When I didn’t have anyone to hang out with, I went places alone. When potential new friends got busy and didn’t answer my texts, I learned not to take it personally and chose to reach out again. When I heard the girl in front of me at an event talking about how she lived in my neighborhood, I got brave and talked to her. In a very real sense, that act ended up changing my life here in Los Angeles: it led me to join November Project and led me to signing up for the marathon, two things that have been hugely important to me.

I’m a person who doesn’t tend to take enough credit for the things she’s accomplished, but I can say this: I moved across the country without a job or friends, and I’ve made a life for myself that I like more than the one I left behind. It’s not revolutionary and I’m not the first or last to do it, but I am really f***ing proud that I’ve done it.

Last year on this date, I borrowed my friend Kelly’s car and took a drive to the beach to watch the sunset and eat pizza. It’s a monthly tradition I’ve tried to keep up as much as I can, and this month is no exception. But this time I’m bringing friends, and I’m going to toast to year two.

7 thoughts on “One Year.

  1. Anne

    Go you! That IS an amazing accomplishment, and how great to be able to measure it in keeping up your sunset + pizza tradition, but now with new friends. (And that is seriously the best monthly tradition… the beach is my favorite place.)

    Reply
  2. Marianne Nugent

    So proud of you Ellie. I’ll admit – I was a little nervous for you – heading out to the west coast alone but I’ve watched you blossom (via Facebook) into an amazing young woman.
    So enjoy watching all of your marathon successes too.
    Here’s to your next chapter – I know you’ll be great.

    Reply
  3. Kristen

    Well said. You have a gift! I admire your courage and willingness to take such a big chance which helped you to grow and learn how strong you truly are. I hope you continue to take chances and listen to your inner voice.

    Reply
  4. Rachel Del

    I love this! And you SHOULD be proud of what you did, it was very brave!
    Sometimes I look back and think that I should be more proud of the chance I took back in January 2011 when I got rid of my apartment, sold my car, sold my furniture, quit my job and moved from Canada to Las Vegas for a man I was engaged to but had only known a year!

    Reply

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