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  • Writer's pictureJackie Habib

Knowing when it's time to move on

The past month has led me to a decision that has been in the works for a while now. I've decided to move back home to Los Angeles. I was somewhat surprised at how quickly I came to this decision. The way I explained it in therapy is I've been collecting pieces of a puzzle for a while now, but only recently did I have enough pieces to see the full picture.

It's been a year since the thought of moving first came up, and it feels so right. As much as I wanted to make the Pioneer Valley my long-term home, I can't ignore the fact that it's been hard to cultivate a real community here. I suppose that's what happens when you take something you had for granted. Back in Los Angeles, community was something I always had; it was a given. It isn't until you leave that you begin to miss it.

My life up until I moved to Massachusetts was about survival. When that phase of my life came to an end, I wanted to get away; to go somewhere peaceful and serene. I'm coming up on my 10th anniversary since I got on a flight bound for Boston with a one-way ticket. Now that I'm planning on moving back home, I am thinking of my time in Massachusetts as a rehab of sorts. It allowed me to focus on myself and to nurture and grow in areas that were neglected for most of my life.

We have a tendency to view life through rose-colored glasses. It isn’t until we make a realization that shifts our perspective that we begin to see things clearly. Up until early June, I was still certain Western Mass is where I belonged. As soon as I realized I wanted to leave, I started to notice a lot of the things that bother me about the area; people’s impatience, their stares, and their silent judgments.

All have been slowly chipping away at my feelings over the past few years. That isn't to say that everyone in Massachusetts is like that; I have made some great friends here. But I feel a lack of diversity is harder to live with after growing up in Los Angeles.

I have also decided to leave the career I built for myself over the past 12 years. HR/systems was something I originally fell into. It provided financial stability and a position I was good at and learned to enjoy. But in the past four years, since the pandemic began, the expectations for this work have gone up exponentially. I am still dealing with the physical and mental consequences three years later, after a problem with my hips and lower back snowballed into several other health problems, each piggybacking on top of the other.

I've lost count of the number of doctors and specialists I've seen, the number of X-rays and lab workups I've had, and the number of chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage appointments I've sat through. All to resolve a problem that was put into motion by a job with unrealistic expectations.

While I have enjoyed the work I have done over the years, I never felt the passion and giddy excitement that I experience when working on other projects. So I am leaving HR and moving on to something that has been a dream of mine for so long. One of those dreams you dare not even speak out loud, even when you're alone. I finally said it out loud a few weeks ago. And the more I say it, the more realistic it becomes.

I am going to pursue a career in film when I move back to Los Angeles. With a strong work ethic and skills that can be adapted in many ways, I'm allowing myself to dream and think beyond the financial safety and independence provided by a corporate career.

While it’s scary to try this now while two ongoing strikes are impacting the industry, I am not letting that stop me from making this change, even if it means I need to take another role in the interim. I know I'll have to start all over again, but I'm willing to do it for something I've loved for so long and one that truly ignites my passion and creativity.


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

– Anaïs Nin

"For a minute there, I lost myself."

– Radiohead, Karma Police

"You want to jump and dance, but you sat on your hands And lost your only chance.”

– The Shins, Gone for Good


Photos by Jackie Habib

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