Taking a Leap of Faith: Our Move to Atlanta


Last summer, I left my secure job, my family and my friends to move to Atlanta with my husband. I often tell people I left New York to find a lower cost of living, a vibrant Jewish community, and warmer weather.

And while the above reasons were the foundation for why we came, I couldn’t have followed through without the deeper motivation that lay beneath: I wanted to take the risk of breaking out of my comfort zone.

In New York, I had a full-time job as a nutritionist that I liked (for the most part) and that provided a good salary and benefits (healthcare!). My private practice was growing. I had family nearby, including my mom, brother and most of my extended family.

I like routine — the predictable, the familiar. That is in large part why I never had the gumption to step off the path paved for me since I was a child — getting a good education and then pursuing a solid career in my field of choice. And while I could have achieved these things anywhere in the country, I didn’t want to venture far from home.

During my final year of college, when I was applying to graduate schools in New York City, my father passed away suddenly. The wheels were already turning for my next stage of life, and I didn’t know how to integrate this new traumatic reality into my pre-existing plan for young adulthood. It took me a year to finally face my father’s passing, and many more years to work through the emotional repercussions. Processing the loss of a parent is a lifelong process.

My life as a single young professional was full of heartache and emotional distress. In my book, First Comes Self-Love, Then Comes Marriage, I relate that if I had left the hustle of New York City as a young professional in my twenties, it would have helped me to become more grounded and gain the strength to face the emotional difficulties I faced.

In the fall of 2014, I met the man who would become my future husband. We got married one year later. We spent the first six months of our marriage living in a studio on the Upper West Side before moving to Riverdale. Though we liked the Riverdale community, there was still an itch to move outside the tri-state area.

When we visited Atlanta, my heart sang. I felt that great things were waiting for me there, though I did not yet know where. Neither my husband nor I had jobs yet. But I wanted to make the big move before we entered our next phase of starting a family. I wanted to set down professional roots before embarking on the journey of motherhood.

Plus, I couldn’t wait to live in an apartment complex with a pool that I wouldn’t have to pay extra to use. And free parking? Yes, please!

Within two months, we moved into an apartment that fit our needs — close to the shul as well as my cousins, with easy access to nature trails.

For me, moving to Atlanta was the leap of faith I wanted to take in my twenties but could not. While we are still finding our way here professionally, we constantly remind ourselves to stay focused on the present moment and not get discouraged by minor setbacks.

I’ve come to learn that taking steps toward a better life will involve acts of faith. Just because all the pieces of the puzzle aren’t in perfect place doesn’t mean things won’t come together. Listen to your heart, trust its message, and take constructive steps toward what you feel is your ideal life.


Gila Daman, MS, RDN, LD, CDE is a registered dietitian nutritionist and health and wellness coach. She is the author of First Comes Self-Love, Then Comes Marriage and The Roadmap Ends Here: Entering Adulthood. She currently blogs about personal growth, self-care, and emotional well-being on her blog: firstcomesselflove.com.