How can we grow if we continue to remain in the same place of struggle, stagnation, and discontentment? We can’t. About a month ago, I realized that my life had reached this place. What I was doing (which I thought was helping me towards my dream) was actually just restraining me from going after what I really want. When I went to California, I realized that all of these people going after their goals position themselves in a place to make that happen. You want to be and actress/model/commercial dancer? Move to LA. Want to dance on Broadway? Move to NY. It’s just what you do because that’s where the action is happening. That’s where your dream will come to life. In that moment, I knew that if I wanted my goal of becoming a professional Latin dancer/performer/coach to really take off, I had to move closer to my studio in Charlotte. This 6-hour-a-week drive was not going to work for me anymore.
I had been living in my parent’s house since I moved back from Utah, because financially it made the most sense for me. I was able to work close to home and spend all of my income on dance. However, for me, being in that small town, away from the studio and away from things that inspire me was incredibly difficult and almost suffocating. That sounds a bit dramatic, but I simply wasn’t thriving off of my environment. When you are a creative person or artist of any form, your surroundings can impact you greatly. I had wanted to make this move for a while, but was a little scared of how it would work financially. However, when I had this moment of realization in Cali, as well as the end to a 3-year relationship, I knew that I no longer had an excuse. I was going to make this move happen.
Everything happened so quickly. After getting back from my trip, I literally found a job, found an apartment, and moved within a 2-week time. I found a great job at Living Kitchen which is an organic and plant-based restaurant that I love. I knew I could really thrive in this environment as well as in the dance studio. I interviewed for marketing jobs, but I just couldn’t see myself happy in that space. I found a lovely apartment super close to work and dance which was fantastic as well. I was hoping to find something a little more in my budget or even find a roommate, but I just didn’t have time to do that after I found the job.
And if you have never looked for an apartment before…..good luck. I had NO idea how expensive things are, especially in Charlotte. Plus, there are all of these hidden fees that keep piling up that you don’t think about when you live with your parents. I still haven’t got back to dancing as much as I would like, just because I’m trying to figure out how to make everything work financially. Sometimes you just have to jump on that hustle bus and not get off. I really need to work on setting a strict budget so that I make sure to have enough for the amount of dancing I need every week and not be stressed about it. That’s still a work in progress.
Another thing that has been hard is fitting everything into the 24-hours of the day. Between my morning workout and yoga, blogging, working 2 jobs, and dance practice….things can get a bit nuts. I’m really trying to plan out my days and that helps a lot (but I could definitely use more structure). It takes a lot of discipline, and I’ve noticed myself getting frustrated sometimes. But in those moments, if I just breathe and remember my WHY, my entire body calms and I can get back to work.
It’s very easy to get distracted, especially when moving to a new city. I have been meeting so many amazing people, finding amazing restaurants, learning about cool places to hang out and explore….but I have to keep my mission at the top of my list. All of these things are fun and great, but if they take time away from my dancing, I have to just say “no.” This is SOOOO hard for me and something I have struggled with since I got here. But now, I see where that has been happening and now I can change it. This doesn’t mean I can’t have a social life at all, but keeping dance as my #1 priority is key.
All the hard stuff doesn’t really seem so bad anymore when I get to drive 5 minutes and be at my studio. As soon as I step through the door, I am immediately inspired and remember why I’m working so hard to make this dream happen. I get to go into this little private room and work on the things from my lessons, attend the Latin technique classes, and be around people who love dancing as much as I do. This makes everything so worth it. Once I get back to training with Clement (my coach) at a normal pace again, it will be even better. I am improving at a faster rate than ever right now, even with only 1 hour of training a week…just having the studio and inspiration readily available at my fingertips.
If you are contemplating on moving somewhere that will propel you towards your goal, GO FOR IT! We can never get back the lost time spent contemplating and wondering. Sometimes you just gotta get up and move. Here are some do’s and don’ts that I have learned from this move, and I’m STILL learning and adapting to. Hope they help you as well!
- DO listen to your gut. If you get this deep feeling that moving is going to be the best thing for you and your future, then why wouldn’t you do it? If you’re not inspired in your current living situation, or feel like you just can’t achieve the things you want to, put yourself in a place where these things can occur.
- DON’T second guess yourself once you make the decision to move. It might be extremely hard, but you CAN make it happen if you really want to. People will probably tell you that it doesn’t make sense financially, or that you should just give it more time, but don’t let this steer you away from what you know is right for you.
- DO give yourself some time if possible (maybe a month) to get all the logistics figured out. I moved super quickly, which not only put myself in a pinch financially, but gave me limited access to affordable housing, roommates, etc. I’m kind of in overdrive right now because of my ultra-quick move, but that’s what I decided to do and it’s been worth it.
- DO find a job that you will enjoy, around people who inspire you to be better. This has been huge for me. Working at Living Kitchen has been so great because I’m around like-minded people all day that have similar interests and make me want to be better. This puts me in a great mood that transfers into dance as well.
- DO get some help moving into your new place. If you have a great support system like I am lucky to have, you will be so grateful that you asked for their help. My family and some family friends helped me get settled, look for furniture (resale shops and repurposing places are THE BEST), and get everything put in its place before they left me. I would seriously still be unpacking boxes if I didn’t have their help; sometimes asking for help is the best thing to do.
- DON’T get distracted by all the shiny things a new city has to offer. As I mentioned earlier, this is really hard right now. There are so many amazing places I want to see, people I want to hang out with, and things I want to do…but why did I move here? What is my purpose? DANCE. That must come before everything. Sometimes you just have to say no to the other things in order to move forward.
- DO make a plan, create a budget, set a schedule that will keep you on the right track. This is also something I’m working on, and it’s a process for sure. But I know in the long run it will help everything move more smoothly and I won’t feel so frazzled and behind all the time. My planner is my best friend.
- DO believe in yourself. When moving to a new place, the only person you have to count on is yourself. You have to be your support system and keep yourself motivated to wake up every day and know that you are getting one step closer towards your dreams. YOU’VE GOT THIS!
Why remain still when you can move?
Ashlyn Tori ❤