No matter how many times I start this blog post, I continue to backspace and rephrase. Rinse and repeat. It's bittersweet. At the end of July, Jack and I will be closing this incredible chapter and starting a new one. We are moving back to Michigan.
After three years in Atlanta, we have decided to close the door on this phenomenal chapter. We will pack up our 847 square foot one-bedroom apartment that we have made our home the past three years, load up the U-Haul, and take the familiar drive north on I-75.
2017: Planting the Seed
A quick note: Jack and I were visiting Atlanta in June of 2017 with his family for his cousin's wedding. Having never been to the city before, we spent a lot of time before the wedding exploring different areas of Atlanta. I browsed Pinterest for the best restaurants, things to do, and places to see. As we were walking around after brunch on Sunday afternoon, Jack nudged me and said, "You know, Atlanta would be a pretty cool city to live in after graduation. It has a lot of offer."
I chuckle when I reminisce on that conversation. It's one of those core memories that sticks with you. We were walking over the bridge in West Midtown at Westside Provisions, the sun overhead and a comfortable breeze comforted us. He wrapped his arm around my shoulder as he said it and I leaned my head into his neck. Truthfully, I didn't give it much thought, but I did acknowledge it and say "yeah, you never know, it would be pretty cool."
2019: Graduation, job security, and a U-haul
If you read 'The Next Chapter', you know that Jack and I both secured employment in Atlanta prior to graduation. We decided to spend the summer traveling and soaking in the beautiful Michigan summer weather before making the trek south. In August of 2019, we had officially moved to Atlanta - we registered to vote, snagged Georgia licenses, and changed the state of our car registration. We were doing it.
People make places a home
There are really no words to describe the people who came into our life after we settled into our new apartment in Atlanta. They made Atlanta home. Jack's job was in consulting and he joined the workforce with about 45 other new graduates. Most of these people came from other universities. I joke and say it was his 'pledge class' because it felt similar to college. There were a few guys that had also graduated from Michigan State and University of Michigan. Among these people, they had mutual friends also from Michigan that were located in Atlanta. Little did we know then, these people would become our family here.
We were new at adulting. Truthfully, it still felt like college sometimes - it was epically fun, saying yes to different dinners and activities, and running around the city. Everything was so new. Reflecting back, saying 'yes' in a new city opens so many doors - despite how exhausting it might be at first. New coworkers, bible study groups, mutual friends of existing friends, and so on - so many people that we've crossed paths with, thank you for making this city so special. You may know who you are, and even if you don't think it includes you: it most certainly does. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
For me personally, I met one of my best friends, Lauren, on the first night she moved to Atlanta from Michigan. Soon, we'd spend time with Sarah and then Hannah. Quickly, we had our crew. There were about 15 other guys that would hop in and out of events with us. Together, we had our people.
One thing that isn't talked about enough is how tough the transition from college to post-graduation is. Adulting on your own, adjusting to corporate expectations, and everything sandwiched between. Good people make that transition easier and quickly become another support system. Thank goodness for these people.
2020: The world shuts down
I will never be able to put 2020 into words - for multiple reasons. Focusing on the topic of this life update, Jack and I were some of our only friends that stayed in Atlanta during the early phases of Covid-19. My job at the time was still convinced that we were going back into the office in 2 weeks (LOL at that). However, Lauren also was required to be in Atlanta. Jack and I hung out with Lauren about 5 times a week in those four months. We had more walking happy hours than I can count, went through decks of Quixx card games, and tried (and I failed) at numerous TikTok Dances. It was simple, fun, and some of the best memories we've had together. Truly, if walls could talk, our apartment holds some incredible -and heartbreaking- stories.
All that to say, once it was time for Lauren to resign her lease, she decided to move into our building. Three months later, Lauren and I had convinced Hannah to move into the complex too. It was our rendition of F-R-I-E-N-D-S and my goodness, it was the BEST. Want to do dinner on a Tuesday night? Get together for cards? Need to vent about a shitty day? We called ourselves the Big Three (any This Is Us fans?!?! Us too, ha!) Lauren was also our built in house dog sitter and loved our dog Georgia like her own. It couldn't get any better. These two women single handedly made life SO wonderful. I'm incredibly grateful for our lifelong friendship.
2021: New chapters
Ahh, what do they say all good things come to an end? That's how I felt when Lauren and Hannah moved out. Hannah moved out in September of 2021 and Lauren in December of 2021 - both of them taking their next step in their career. I couldn't be happier for them. Selfishly, I was sad that I no longer had my besties in the building.
I'd be remiss not to include my other dear friends that Atlanta gave me, Sam and Madison. I met them at my old job (they love it when I refer to them as my old coworkers) and our relationships have blossomed over the years. We were in the trenches of Corporate America together - and that alone is a bonding experience forever - HA!
2022: A new lease
We've renewed our current least twice now; each time we never once questioned moving. My best friends lived in our building and we really adore our complex. We were close to work, the city, and our space fit us. It made room for our sweet 28 pound fur baby, Georgia, and has served this time of our life.
Recently, there was a life changing opportunity that came to Jack. We thought that this new job might be on the horizon - but expected it to come to fruition in a year or so. His new job doesn't tie us to Atlanta anymore. His office is located in Rochester, Michigan and there are times where being close to the office is incredibly beneficial - especially for his role.
So, as our end of July lease has quickly approached, Jack and I continued discussing where we felt called to be next. We ultimately felt torn because we adore this city we've made our own; but we also had other factors pulling us towards a new chapter.
We need more space - ideally a 3-bedroom townhome (maybe some grass for Georgia to spring around in), and within our budget, that puts us OTP (outside the perimeter of the city of Atlanta). It also puts us farther away from our remaining friends in the city.
On the flip side, two of my younger sisters, Meghan and Lily, will both be in their senior years of college and high school. I like to think that I get home for the big events; but the little events, the soccer games, weekend tailgates, and family dinners, I've missed the past three years. Deeply, I want to be back for this season of their life.
Jack's family spends a lot of the year in south Florida, and my family has a new place in Northern Michigan. After getting our dog Georgia, we either had to find care for her while we left for an extended period of time - or we had to drive. We have covered every inch North and South of I-75. It's impressive honestly. Fun fact: we've made this drive now 14 times. That's a total of 6 days in the car! If we are in Michigan, we have the ability to have Georgia coverage more frequently (looking at you, Lily :).
After three years in Atlanta, we have decided to close the door on this phenomenal chapter. We will pack up our 847 square foot one-bedroom apartment that we have made our home the past three years, load up the U-Haul, and take the familiar drive north on I-75 back to Michigan.
We will be the first to tell you that we are going to miss this city - and the weather. Ask Jack, every time we go outside, he proclaims: "Wow, it doesn't get better than this" (nodding at the weather). It truly is bittersweet.
Taking APOP full-time
You might be wondering why I had to tell you about the last three years of our living experience before I told you this. Thank you for reading 🙂
I've felt pulled in taking A Paige Of Positivity full-time for some time now. This move really solidified that I need to give it a chance. I've been picking up more freelance and paid partnership work to make this dream a reality. We are working SO hard to gain enough pageviews on the blog to eventually partner with an ad agency for additional income. That being said, this passion project is something I've built into something so special. It became a business much before I actually saw it as that. It's to the point where it deserves my full attention.
Humbly, I'm so grateful to have this opportunity. It will not be easy. And there are going to be a lot of growing pains. I'm SO excited; but I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm betting on myself, hard work and determination. If you ask my family and friends, I've always been an entrepreneur. I learned early on how to become the best babysitter on the block, carefully passing my client base to my sisters. I painted canvases in high school for people going to college; often creating and selling different services. And I learned pretty quickly that Corporate America isn't always the best place for people like me. Creative limits exist in those spaces - I didn't not like that.
A Paige Of Positivity (APOP) will receive all of my time and more. As an almost 25 year old, I feel like I often talk with my friends and we come back to: "what's the worst that can happen? To put simply, you can always get another job. You can always go back" Similar to when you move, these life events feel so permanent. They soak up so much of our energy. But really, if you don't like it, you are the one who has to change it.
I want to be my own boss. I want to do the damn thing. It LIGHTS MY WORLD UP. I literally live for the joy and creativity this Paige brings me. I can serve you all better with 100% off my attention. Do I have it figured out? Not entirely (let me know who does). But it's not like this is a foreign territory. I've been running APOP for almost 2 years in every spare minute of my time. I can't wait to give it all of my attention. Let's. Do. This!!!
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading and allowing me to share my life with you all. This Paige would not be possible without the support of all of you. Above all, thank you to my Jack - your wisdom and guidance is so helpful and I'm so blessed to do life with you. Your support and love has kept me going on the hardest of days. Thank you to my INCREDIBLE friends who have quite literally kept cheering this Paige on - since the early days in college to now. And to my Mom. You've demonstrated where strong and dedicated work ethic can take you in life.
XX, Courtney Paige