Many would say California is paradise. Perfect weather, beautiful beaches, premier cities, endless things to do, etc. While these things are nothing but the truth about this beautiful state, it can also put you in a daze. Almost like a dream. I know that's what it did to me. California was nothing but good to me growing up, but here are the reasons why leaving California was one of the best things to happen to my life.
Exposed Who I Really Was
I never realized how comfortable I was with my life until after I left California for college. If you would of told me that I would end up in Virginia to go to school my freshman year of high school I wouldn't of believed you. I had my mind set on going to school somewhere in California. I didn't know where but anywhere along the golden coast! By the time my senior year came around, God was starting to show signs of another plan He had for me. Basketball was starting to show some upside and once my one and only offer came in, it was clear where I was headed. My parents knew this would be a good move for me because it would be something different. But I fought it because all I knew was California. I wanted to go to school 30 miles from home, not 3000 miles.
When I finally made my appearance in southwest Virginia, it was a complete culture shock to my entire system. I didn't like it not one bit and on top of that I was home sick. I started to develop this negative mentality about my situation and this really exposed me. I found out I was weak mentally and wasn't open minded to new opportunities like I SAID I was. Instead of embracing my opportunity, I fought it. I thought about transferring, quitting the team and heading back to California. But luckily I have parents that say NO and made me stay. I was fighting God's plan and it took me some time to realize that. I actually saw the weak person that I was. But I needed to see that.
I Needed To Get Out Of The Fairytale Lifestyle
The California lifestyle is different than any other lifestyle I've experienced. There are endless things to do and life can seem almost perfect at times. There is a reason why many people love the state and why it remains my favorite state. From the beaches, to hiking, to the big city life, to visiting the snow in the mountains, the endless actives can make one not want to ever leave, no matter how expensive it is to live there.
But with all that being said, there is also a lot of hype behind it hence the reason why so many people move there year after year. There's so much hype that it made me not want to ever leave even as a kid. For myself, I had a fixed mindset that there was nothing to do in other places or states (which is true to some states! Not going to lie!), but that wasn't necessarily 100% true.
Leaving "the dream" exposed me to so many other places and a new way of life. I needed to see that new way because all I've known was one way to live. Who knew that I would appreciate certain aspects of the country or really appreciate living on the east coast the way I do now. I needed to leave the fairytale because I didn't realize that there was so much more to life than just California and as soon as I got a taste of that, it opened up my mind and I started to embrace what this world really has to offer. I've found a lifestyle that really fits the person I am today.
Got Closer To Family
This category is high on my list! Family has always been important to me and since the majority of my family lives on the east coast, leaving the west coast allowed me to be that much closer. I was able to see them a lot more often, only being a drive away versus a flight away. Some of them were able to watch me play ball throughout college and that was important to me because most of them had never seen me play in person before.
One of the my biggest blessings though is being able to be closer to my Dad. I am able to see him often but developing that new relationship with him has been one of the best feelings and I know he appreciates our relationship that we have as much as I appreciate it as well!
When I was back west, my communication with family didn't happen nearly as often and on top of that I rarely got to see them. If I would have stay in California, my relationship with my family wouldn't be as strong as it is today, and that's a fact.
Helped Build A Better Me
After I left California I really started to get closer to God because at the end of the day He is with me wherever I go and He is what truly matters most. He was the only person I had to lean on because times did get tough. The transition was very hard for me. But as I started to grow, I really started to get stronger in my faith and truly believing that God has a plan for me and he wouldn't put me through anything I couldn't handle. Ultimately this allowed to to grow spiritually and mentally at a level that I never knew I'd be at while pursuing a better more purposeful life. Building that relationship with God has allowed me to build a better me shaping me into the person I am today. I always wonder, "if I hadn't of left, would my faith be as high as it is today?" I can't answer that definitively but I do know that me leaving has allowed me to become closer to Him and for that, I am thankful!
Opportunities Of A Lifetime
I've been blessed with so many opportunities. Opportunities that I never knew were possible in my life. I've gotten the opportunity to meet great people and build great relationships while keeping my close relationships with friends back in Cali. I've had the opportunity to attend a great school and play college basketball at the highest level. I've gotten the opportunity to travel the world while playing a sport I love. I've gotten the opportunity to find the real Brandon and the list goes on.
All of these opportunities arose because I left the golden coast. Not saying that I wouldn't of had any opportunities in California, but my opportunities would have definitely been different. My life and path would be different. But this is what The Man upstairs had planned for me and I can only be thankful for that.
What I Realized
Sometimes we must go far away from home in order to find out who we truly are. Stepping out of our bubble and trying something completely different because we never know where it might take us or the opportunities that may arise. Will it be hard? Yes! Could it be worth it? Absolutely! We just never know until we try or give it a chance and if things don't work out, then at least you can say you tried. I'm trying everyday and that's all I can ask of myself. It may sound scary but I promise it won't bite.
California will forever have a special spot in my heart and though I do miss it from time to time, I'm glad I left because it has allowed me to live the life I live today. And I love the life I live. Leaving has made me into a better person and I can't argue with that. This is what God had planned for ME.
– Brandon Holcomb