My Houston-iversary


This week marks the one-year anniversary of when I packed two duffel bags into the back of my Scion and moved to Houston to start my first job. I can’t believe it’s already been a full year since I came here. In some ways it seems like I just got here yesterday, and yet, sometimes I feel like I’ve been here my whole life. I’ve learned so much in such a short time. But, most importantly, I’ve proved to myself that I could do it.

When I first told people I was moving to Houston, I was met with different versions of the same emotion: shocked. Some were excited for me, others skeptical. Most people told me that they never expected me to do “something like that.” Apparently, moving to a different city to start a new life, although a cliché scenario in my book, didn’t seem to be the type of thing that Haley Gatewood would ever do.

It was through these conversations that I discovered that many of my friends and family had grown to see only one part of me – and it was a part I didn’t like. They knew me as a quiet, timid girl who was too afraid to swim too far from shore. That Haley is very real and defined the majority of my life for a long time. But while they grew accustomed to that perception of me, I was developing the side of me that I did like: a brave, ambitious, independent person who didn’t need training wheels anymore and was willing to go wherever God sent her. That was the part of me I had grown to identify with. That was the part of me that accepted the challenge of starting a new life from scratch in a city I had never been to before.

And so, while others doubted my ability to blaze my own trail and expected me to move back home as soon as I could, I set out to prove them wrong – and prove to myself that I really was this person I had kept hidden for so long.

So, it’s been a year. My trail has been blazed. And I feel like I’m finally getting the chance to express the part of me I knew was there all along.

And it’s just the beginning.



Get lost.


In the 14 days I’ve been in Houston I’ve probably gotten lost about twenty-eight times (if not more). I consider it a rarity if I haven’t gotten lost at least twice in one day. Normally this would frustrate me. I hate being lost. I hate not knowing where I am or being in an unfamiliar part of town.

Having lived in Dallas my whole life, I rarely got truly lost; I could always find a reference point (a major highway, a recognizable restaurant) to help guide me back to where I was supposed to go. Now I’m in a new city with new roads and new landmarks to learn. I’ve driven to the wrong location several times because there are multiple streets with the same names. I’ve made a ridiculous amount of U-turns. I’ve pulled into many a parking lot to re-configure the GPS on my iPhone only to discover I’m right where I was supposed to be all along.

Strangely enough, I’ve come to welcome the feeling of being lost. It’s through these times that I have been able to explore my new home, stumbling across random one-way streets and discovering hidden retail strips. It’s forced me to explore, not out of luxury, but out of necessity. It has made me embrace the fact that I’m not in Dallas anymore and the hundreds of new opportunities that allows me.

And it has helped me understand that everyone needs to get lost every once in a while, because if we are never lost, how can we know when we’re found?