Moving Cross Country During the Pandemic Changed My Life

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

When quarantine hit, I was optimistic, thinking it would be temporary. I figured I would become closer with the guy I was seeing and grateful that work wasn’t too crazy. Fast forward a few weeks into quarantine, I was dumped, crying every night and couldn’t sleep. I had crazy mood swings where one day I’d be happy, proud of how I cleaned my apartment. The next day I’d be crying throughout the day, not sure how to climb out of the hole of wallowing. I was lonely, yearning for people in my life as I went through my first breakup.

At the end of March, my best friend asked me if I wanted to stay with him and his roommates on the West Coast. I thought it was crazy at first. Why should I travel? Was it worth risking my physical health for my mental health? After days of debating, I decided to pull the trigger and booked my flight. I was surprised how understanding my coworkers were, while my friends and family thought I was stupid. Friends sent me news articles about the increasing number of cases while family said I was reckless, comparing me to Spring Breakers who were enjoying Florida as if nothing was happening.

I made the decision since I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t cry every day, feeling no purpose. I tried to make it work by going on walks and splurging on plants and take out. However, I still felt alone and depressed.

Improved Mental Health

It was incredible how much I changed after arriving at the West Coast. It felt so good to have a quarantine pod that I could safely hang out with. We would spend nights playing board games or watching Netflix. I felt normal. My mood swings leveled out, and I felt more relaxed being in a bigger space. Also living in the suburbs vs in the city made it less anxiety inducing when I went for a walk.

When the quarantine started, most of my friends in NYC either relocated temporarily or were far away enough where I couldn’t see them safely. None of us felt comfortable taking the subway unless we absolutely had to, and I didn’t live within walking distance of any of my friends.

Since college, I refused to have roommates, prioritizing my alone time. However, quarantine made me realize how much I need to be around people and how at this time, having roommates is what I need to stay mentally stable.

Dream Job

For years, I talked about going into product management. I would apply every now and then, getting discouraged whenever people said I didn’t have enough experience. Since I had more spare time during quarantine, I decided to give applying to jobs another shot.

It wasn’t easy, and unfortunately there were quite a few emotional breakdowns after some interviews. I am incredibly hard on myself and interviews made me even more critical about my performance.

One day I was scrolling on LinkedIn and saw a mutual connection commented on someone’s job posting. I decided to apply and got a call for an interview. The process from interviewing to get an offer took little over a week. It was a whirlwind experience from feeling dejected to getting hope to feeling embarrassed about my coding performance to overjoyed on getting an offer to be a product manager.

The company I now work at typically hires people who can commute to their offices. Quarantine showed them that they can work virtually which expanded their applicant pool. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity if it wasn’t for quarantine, and I’m so incredibly grateful for the doors that quarantine has opened.

Got the Boy

I used to be so confused about girls who couldn’t stop gushing about their boyfriend. But then I became that girl. I always thought relationships had to be so difficult, full of drama and chipping away at walls that were built from previous relationships. However, my boyfriend was the first person I dated where I felt so comfortable. Sometimes I think I’m too honest and unfiltered.

As I went through all of these changes from settling down in a new city to starting a new job virtually, he has been there every step of the way. He gives me space when I feel overwhelmed and want to be alone and just cry. He is a shoulder I cry on when I need to be held and comforted. My boyfriend is also there to celebrate my successes. Buying me flowers and chocolate when I left my old job. Answering my call whenever I have good news. It’s an odd feeling to have someone you can rely on for anything.

Now

Overall I’m happy. I got everything I wanted and more. However, that doesn’t mean I’m always smiling and skipping in fields of flowers. There are days when shit gets real, and I’m crying all day. I still have days where I’m so insecure and question if I deserve everything. There’s fear of how everything will change in the new normal after we are vaccinated. For now, I take it day by day, embracing how I am feeling and striving to keep having more good days than bad.

Hey! I’m a 20-something year old who loves discussing self improvement. I’ve worked in operations and product at tech companies.

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