On Changing My Life.

by Andie Mitchell on May 1, 2011

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Last year on May 2nd, I left Boston for Seattle. Left three years of Paramount and Sony Pictures for the Pacific. No job or plan or anything secure besides Daniel and my plane buckle, just a notion that I am young, and I must explore the country and myself.

And find Pier 70 of Real World Seattle fame.

So today, one year later, I’m celebrating a patchwork life of change and semi-fearlessness. This post, below, is one that speaks volumes about my sense of direction. About my senses of stillness and seeking. The notion of following your heart.

………….

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When I was 18, I pierced my nose. My mother lay in her bed and cried for two hours.

At 19, I told my mother I didn’t want to pursue the honors track in college because, “Who cares?” My mother lay in her bed and cried for two hours.

At 20 I lost 135 lbs. My mother lay in her bed and cried for two hours.

At 21, I told my mother I was deeply sad and didn’t know how to go on. My mother lay in her bed and cried for two hours.

 

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When I was 22 I told my mother I’d just spent the night chatting with Leonardo DiCaprio and laughing with Mark Ruffalo on the set of Shutter Island. My mother lay in her bed and cried for two hours.

At 23 I told my mother I was moving to Philadelphia to work on another film, but this time with Jack Nicholson and Paul Rudd. My mother lay in her bed and cried for two hours.

 

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At 24, I told my mother I was going to stop working in film and start writing. A cooking blog. Not knowing what a blog was, my mother lay in her bed and cried for two hours.

At 25, I told my mother I was packing my belongings and moving to Seattle. Just because. My mother turned and said, “Follow your heart.”

And I did.

 

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Here I am, twenty six, having lost a lot in life. My front teeth on the see-saw, my first spelling bee (who the hell knew the correct placement of the ‘L’ in purple?), my dad, a job or two, 135 lbs, multiple pairs of sunglasses, and most often- my way.

I’ve never known what to do with myself. And I’m not even referring to the big dreamy picture of “what shall I do with my life?” Even in the mornings, the days, the 4:39′s of my life, I’ve felt at a loss. An anxiety of the here and now. What am I doing now? Where do I go from here? Always slightly an unease of being.

 

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And despite this ever-present discomfort, I’ve made a life. Just driven to the end of each street, weighed the options of each turn, and hung a right or a left. Down avenues leading to the sets of major motion pictures, to nights waiting tables, to days and weeks on end laughing to the point of tears with friends, to sitting at home all day in my pajamas, to modeling, to business suits, to watching Days of Our Lives with my Nana. And being completely aware of the entire plot history. Unfortunately.

What I’ve come to realize is that the gentle sensation of ants in my pants at all times is just letting me know I’m alive. That I’m on the verge. Of doing stuff. Or not. But just that there’s something ahead, the very bad and the very good.

I’m reminded to take chances, to make illegal turns a time or ten, to crash, fail, and seriously consider that fall-back plan at Starbucks. I hear they have a great benefits package.

I’d rather not tell you I’ve always known the right choice. I never did. I never do. I’ve made my mother cry a zillion and one times. Salty joy and pain. But she and I know that it just means we’re living, we’re feeling, and if nothing else, that my mother’s tear ducts still work.

Cheers to one full year in Seattle, a country’s width away from my home, my hometown, and my family in Boston.

*It’s been a joy.

*Except for the hipsters.

 

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Back to the recipes tomorrow…

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Elena @ GagaForGrapefruit May 1, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog each day. you write so beautifully, and at times when I read your posts, I feel like you’re speaking just to me! I too just up and moved my life across the country (from OH to AZ) about 9 months ago, so this post spoke to me extra this time. I lost my mom around the same age you lost your dad, and I only wish I am as eloquent and lovely as you are when I am 26. stay fabulous girl!

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Jessica May 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm

This post strikes a major cord with me.

I’m not able to express myself as well as you seem to do, however I feel quite a few similarities between your journey and mine. The most obvious one is my bold move to Seattle in the past year with many uncertainties staring me down but pushing onward because it ‘felt like something I need to do’. I also can relate to the flux of directions and activities you have gone through. Human beings are terrible at predicting the future. Awful. We base it solely on the present moment. I think that if your tomorrow brings something unexpected, then you are living and reaching for opportunities as they come. Scary? Yes. Following your heart? Absolutely.

Despite following your heart, or maybe because of it, life can be confusing. The good and bad ahead, it’s all there. I guess this post came at a good time for me. It reminds me that life is about living and that it comes with ups and downs. Essentially, I’ve been needing to remind myself that I should live and experience everything that today has to offer. I’ve been forgetting the present in an attempt to ‘know what to expect from tomorrow’. I won’t ever really know what to expect from tomorrow but I do know that if I miss today’s lesson, I will have to make it up sometime.

I guess all I really wanted to say in place of all that babble was thank you. This post was what I needed. I wish the best for you on your journey – where ever it takes you.

And I second you on the hipsters.

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Annie May 1, 2011 at 11:46 pm

One thing I learned about Seattle as a young girl, there are always hipsters around. Always. And sadly, the hipsters travel to my side of the state to bring their hipster friends and tour many of the wineries here. Then they wander around downtown drunk. *sigh*

I hope you are enjoying Seattle, it is a really beautiful city and Washington State in general is so pretty. I have to admire your ability to move across the country to a totally different state where you know no one. I moved 3 hours away (within Washington) for my dream of film school, got there, hated it, lost my dream for film and moved back to my little hometown. I did gain something good from that year away from my hometown, my husband, but that was about it.

It’s good to hear your journey away has been better, which usually means that it was the right decision.

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Lisa in OKC May 1, 2011 at 11:53 pm

I don’t have anything profound to say, but I just wanted to say hello and let you know I will be submitting that official request for time off to get caught up on blog reading. ;)

And BTW…way to follow your heart, Andie!

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Sana May 2, 2011 at 12:57 am

I can’t wait to change my life, I can’t wait to just follow my heart :)

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Cait @ Beyond Bananas May 2, 2011 at 2:46 am

WOw, this is an amazing post! You have made so many BIG decisions in your life – and you are not even 30 yet. Most people may not have to make those decisions through out an entire life time. I think we all feel lost a little .. okay… we feel lost a lot.
It was truly comforting to read this post – to know that – in life – when you do follow your heart.. you are going to feel lost. And that is okay!

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Johnny May 2, 2011 at 3:02 am

No matter how old you get you loose your way every day! If only devine intervention could pick us up and turn us around when we start to go down the wrong street. But then even He wants us to live and make the mistakes that form our unique personality. Knowing that all our lives have a purpose for being is good enough to keep me going each day. Somewhere, someone out there needs us to be there for them. When we listen and have the courage to do, we are what we are supposed to be.

I know that your journey will be fulfilling because I think maybe you have grasped the concept.

And if not you would make a really cute Starbucks counter girl!! :)

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 2, 2011 at 3:30 am

I love that you were able to take such big changes already! Can you come over and teach me how to do that?

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey May 2, 2011 at 4:28 am

Happy one year anniversary in Seattle. One thing I love about my mom is how she supports me in everything I do. There were many times in my life where she knew what I was doing was probably not the best life choice, but she stuck by me anyways, determined to let me make my own choices and learn from my own mistakes. I don’t thank her enough for that, but it has truly shaped me into who I am today.

I love that you love your mom as much as I love my mom.

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haya May 2, 2011 at 4:41 am

happy first seattleversary!! i still have to find a way to the pacific north west.

love the blog and am glad nobody stopped you from writing

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 2, 2011 at 5:20 am

Happy 1 Year Anniversary in Seattle Andrea!! This was such an inspiring post and it gives me a lot of assurance, especially because there are some days where I feel I don’t really know which way to go either. I admire your flexibility and willingness to take on whatever new opportunity you’re presented with. Here’s to more great adventures! :)

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Krystina (Organically Me) May 2, 2011 at 6:19 am

Sometimes the uncertainties in life are what make it worth living.

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Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy May 2, 2011 at 6:32 am

Um, chills.

That is all. xo

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MelissaNibbles May 2, 2011 at 6:56 am

I love the Seattle hipsters. They’re what make Seattle, Seattle. I really want to change jobs, but am terrified of change. I know I should just go for it, but I can’t for some reason. I need to just jump.

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brandi@BranAppetit May 2, 2011 at 7:04 am

cheers to year one and many more good ones to come :)

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Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me May 2, 2011 at 7:14 am

Fear always keeps people bound to their current situations. Majority of people fear change (myself included!). I commend you for overcoming that and rockin it out!

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Caitlin May 2, 2011 at 7:27 am

You know, the whole pack up and move across the country thing is certainly a bit of a shock and scary, yes, but it feels so AMAZING when you know it’s exactly what you’re meant to do. I had that moment a few weeks ago and every time I read posts of yours like this, I know you’ve had it, too.

Cheers and congrats. I know we just did the whole bottle of champagne each thing, but let’s say we do it again?

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Helena May 2, 2011 at 8:23 am

These posts you’re doing about yourself and not just food are great! I love to hear more about you, you’re such an inspirational and cheerful person :)

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Shanna, Like Banana May 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

Ahhh what a fabulous life you lead my dear. Can I come visit you and trek around Seattle from one great eatery to the next?

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Megan (Braise The Roof) May 2, 2011 at 8:48 am

You’re such an inspiration. I need to constantly remind myself to take risks and leap without looking every once and a while- it’s not my strongest suit, but reading stories like yours make me feel a lot more empowered to do it!

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Lisa @ I'm an Okie May 2, 2011 at 9:26 am

You are a true testament that life is what you make it. Such an inspiration to get out there and follow your dreams.

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Kathleen May 2, 2011 at 9:34 am

I love reading your blog. Your writing is beautiful.

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ALEX May 2, 2011 at 9:35 am

great post. I’m glad you followed your heart. I love living here in Seattle and I bet there are lots of people like you who moved here to follow their hearts!

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Gina May 2, 2011 at 9:51 am

Oh, the hipsters!!

But seriously…I just wanted to let you know how much POWER you convey in your words. You have such precision in your writing that it really allows the reader (i.e. me!) to feel you and be inspired by you. Cheers to being present in life and all the emotion that remids us we are alive. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

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Meg May 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

When I was 18, I moved to Victoria BC for college, not knowing a soul. I think big changes teach you what you’re made of and help you grow exponentially.

I’m so glad that you did decide to write because you do so wonderfully and your recipes are always the best! I’ve used so many of them! :)

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Anna May 2, 2011 at 10:42 am

I must say that your blog truly inspires me. I’m at a fork in the road in my life at the moment and trying to overcome obstacles and thinking about the next steps so reading about someone who has gone through similar experiences brings peace to my mind. Halleluia! There’s someone else out there!

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Sara May 2, 2011 at 11:55 am

I’m briefly de-lurking to say AMEN to your comment about hipsters. How much longer is that trend planning to last!?

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Kate (What Kate is Cooking) May 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I’m laughing at the hipster comment- so true! I visited Seattle last year, and I was warned about the hipsters… they’re so many! Haha, it’s such a beautiful city, though. My parents are trying to move up there- I hope they do I have an excuse to visit!

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Clarissa @ Sober and the City May 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Beautifully expressed! And it’s the way a lot of us feel I suspect :) I went college because people do and I moved to NYC because people do (and my boyfriend was) and I work where I do because…I got asked to. I sort of go with the flow.

My fall-back plan is ALSO Starbucks! Seriously, I love coffee and all things starbucks and I wouldn’t mind chatting with people all day long who also love it :)

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sara May 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I woke up this morning with a billion ants in my pants and feeling all day as if my skin just doesn’t fit quite right. I’m battling some major discontent which generally leads to major change for me. I’m excited about what might pop up on the other side, but I’m just so darn fidgety and squirmy in the mean time.

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Bella May 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm

What an amazing and inspirational post! I enjoyed reading it so much! Kudos to your for following your heart and for inspiring us to do the same!

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Alexa @ Simple Eats May 2, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I think a lot of people can relate to this!
I actually moved TO Boston from New York after college with nothing. No money, no idea what I was going to go, no job, just my best friend. And you know what? I made it and I’m so glad I followed my heart to the city I always wanted to live in.
Beautiful post…please come back to visit soon!

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Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) May 2, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Wow this is such an amazing post. You’ve came so far and made life what you wanted it to be :) I definitely believe in following your heart. That way you’ll never be unhappy :D

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Leah @ Why Deprive? May 2, 2011 at 4:18 pm

This is a beautiful post Andrea. You are so inspiring.
I dont know that I would ever have the nerve to just pick up and move away like that. Its amazing.

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Kerry May 2, 2011 at 4:19 pm

This is beautiful. I am too chicken to take the leap and go somewhere new, even the next city over, and just adapt to what life throws at me. I don’t know HOW to let go. I really respect you for just doing what you needed to do.

SNAPS FOR ANDIE! (Legally Blonde anyone… anyone?)

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Kristi May 2, 2011 at 4:20 pm

What an amazing life you’ve had so far.

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Kelly May 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Andrea, you are inspiring.

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Lizzy May 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I still think you should move back to Boston so we can be friends : )

Do you have posts about what you did in the film industry? I was a film major and now edit.

I think its great you followed your heart and Seattle seems like a great place to be.

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Lu @ A Mix of it All May 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Inevitably your blog for me involves a glass of wine, a sigh of happiness and an extreme hunger I can’t explain. Today your blog left me with one thought…”I too need to follow my heart”. I’m 99% sure it will lead me to chocolate, or true understanding of my existence. Win/win if you ask me.

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Bee May 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I want to leave western massachusetts in the worst way. I DREAM about moving across the country. Possibly to LA, or San Fran. Or somewhere that I can escape snow for a while. I’m just much too scared and my student loans are much too high for it to be a reality. Someday in the not-too-distant future I hope. You continue to be an inspiration girl :)

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becky May 2, 2011 at 8:41 pm

all the best to you, hun! follow your heart :)

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Dana May 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm

This blog is easily becoming one of my favorites and a much better use of my time than studying for finals. As a college junior who is more confused now about what I want to do than when I was a freshman this post is such an inspiration for me to just follow my heart, wherever that may lead.

Also, don’t know if my mom cried for two hours but there were some tears when I came home with my tattoo. ;)

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Andrea Trembath May 2, 2011 at 10:57 pm

I cannot even tell you how much I relate to this post, from the ‘ants-in’the-pants’ feeling of unease right down to your starbucks fallback plan, which I quite literally am experiencing in my life right now. Thank you for reminding me that my feeling of unease and unassuredness is a natural part of who I am and a sign of constantly being in motion.

To think that I started following this blog for the healthful and tasty looking recipes… I’ve sure gotten more out of this than I ever bargained for!

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Cindy May 3, 2011 at 8:13 am

Seriously it’s been a year? I am still wondering if you’ve gotten settled in yet.

gosh time flies.

you are awesome dear Andrea! Brave and not afraid of your fears at the same time!

bravo my sweet!

now I must go and make some lasagna…not sure why ;)
xo

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Leah May 3, 2011 at 11:03 am

I loved this post.

It makes me feel like it’s okay that I don’t know what I’m doing all the time ;)

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Mandy May 4, 2011 at 6:44 am

I so admire your gumption in moving clear across the country, and I’m so jealous that you get to live in Seattle, I love my native Utah, but wow it is beautiful up there! Bravo and much thanks from my husband, my three year old, my one year old and myself for your AMAZING recipes!

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Chris May 5, 2011 at 7:37 am

I really enjoyed “How do you know” it’s nice to hear you worked on it. Good job!

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Brittney May 10, 2011 at 8:50 am

I love this! I feel very similarly about my life and the twists and turns it’s taken living in different places. It’s nice to feel kind of settled and at home somewhere now though, although, I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had living in different places. They really have left imprints on my soul :)

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Katy May 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

I found your blog this afternoon and I wish I had found it sooner. I love the way you write and I kind of feel like you get how I feel sometimes too. I’m looking forward to reading your blog more often.

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debbie January 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm

as a girl who left my comfortable, stable, secure, conventional and unfulfilled life in a small new england state and happily give it all away, selling my home and giving away most of my belongings (at the age of 35) to go and find something meaningful and to live my own idea of life and adventure, also having no idea where it would lead me — I commend you for your bravery. My journey led me all the way to alaska. I’ve never been happier.

I love your ever developing life-long love affair with food and kindness and I celebrate the spirit inside you (and all of us) that says it’s ok to follow your heart and to live on the edge of reason as we dance our way to our own versions of happiness.

keep writing. your words add joy to this world.

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