How leaving the music industry transformed my life for the better
Two years ago I did something I honestly didn’t think I would ever do. I left Nashville.
The journey to that departure was chaotic and painful. It left me broken, drowning in self doubt and uncertainty, and feeling lost in the world.
Transformation comes when you let go of the things you’re used to and allow yourself to experience something outside of yourself.
I took a conscience decision to take a step back and move away from it for a few months to see what the deal was. Was it me? Was it Nashville? Was it something I wasn’t even thinking about?
The answers came in the form of a lot of self reflection and personal honesty. All the things I thought I wanted turned out to be toxic. It was the road that seemed the most obvious but left me destitute and unfulfilled.
The music industry for me was a place where nobody could see my potential. Nashville was a place where I felt like I had to dim my light and let others shine in order to find my way to success. Writing became a chore, something I did to appease a publicist that had a client I really wanted to talk to. I said yes to a lot of things I hated. I spent a lot of nights at shows I didn’t care about. And in the midst of it all, I lost sight of what I really wanted in life.
I spent two years trying to find a full time job and experiencing constant rejection. Two years of feeling that, unless I was willing to play a game, I would never succeed. And I learned quickly I wasn’t willing.
The realization hit me that I wanted to succeed. I wanted to absolutely love what I was doing every day. Where I was, who I was with, how I lived my life. Nashville checked one box — I got to see music every night. But it became clear to me as I started setting goals for myself, that other than that, Nashville and the industry attached to it did nothing but bring me down.
I flew off to spend time in New York on a whim, but the moment my feet touched down on the pavement I knew I’d never leave. Just the air, polluted and grimy as it might be, sent an energy through my body that I hadn’t felt in years. It was the beginning of a transformation.
A transformation that reminded me of my self-worth. That’s where it all begins. That’s where so many of us sell ourselves short. I’ve spent the last year and a half pulling myself up, figuring my life out, and being happy. Because of self worth.
I rediscovered my thirst for travel. My love of food. The thrill of experiencing music without an agenda. I learned how to take better pictures. I cherished impromptu moments of adventure. And that’s where the inspiration for Autumn in New York hit. That’s when the words I really wanted to write started to find their way to pieces of paper.
I love music, but I spent years chasing after a dream that didn’t serve me. I share this story because I see so many people doing this daily. Out of a sense of duty, responsibility, or that fear of labeling themselves a failure. But taking the time to evaluate what matters and make changes that leave you happier, more fulfilled and confident, is never a bad thing.
Leaving behind the one thing I’d always known was terrifying, but it set me free. I can love music and not spend every day battling my own demons to do so. I can love Nashville and not live there. When years before leaving something behind would have marked failure all over my psyche, I now see that it catapulted me to bigger, better, and more amazing things.
Transformation comes when you let go of the things you’re used to and allow yourself to experience something outside of yourself. Being fearless is the first step to realizing what and who you need to be.
The next time you have the opportunity to do something terrifying, big or small, take it. It could be the thing that changes your life.