Stay or Go

I love to travel. There’s something about going somewhere new and navigating the scene that excites me! I enjoy getting lost and finding different places to eat. I love people watching and scoping out others’ do things. And even if you’ve been to a place before, you can discover new things.

I find it hard to awaken this same sense of excitement and discovery on a daily basis. Always eager to learn though, I was listening to a podcast and the question was asked: should I stay at my job of 16 years or move on to something else? I thought this question was interesting for a few reasons: 1) Why was this caller asking a complete stranger for THIS type of advice?,  2) Why do some people stay in place while others leave? 3) Should I be asking myself this question?

I always find it weird when adults ask certain questions. Some things I assume people should just KNOW, but that is not always the case. The woman who posed the question didn’t mention what type of work she did or even where she was located which to me, made it kind of hard to answer her question. BUT, either she loved her job so much that she committed to it long-term OR she found herself stuck; committed without consent. The host of this responded rather confidently and said, “I wouldn’t stay anywhere 16 years!”

I thought for a moment how easy it is for people to go from place to place without ever having a sense of belonging. Many, many years ago people would get hired at a company and remain until retirement or death. Gone are those days, I imagine. People used to buy homes that their children and grandchildren would hopefully live in. But now, the terms “starter-home”, “dream home” and “vacation home” eliminate any sense of identity or familial ties. These notions trickle down into relationships. People commit to each other but are willing to leave at the slightest inkling of a problem. I’m fully aware that most people do things because they can. But even more people do most things because they can’t (or feel that they can’t) do others.

This lead me to wonder if I should be asking myself the same question, should I stay or should I go? When I was about 17 years old and started seriously looking at colleges, I vowed to only apply to schools outside of the state of California.

I wanted to GO as far away as I could and hopefully never return. When you’re young, the whole world is an option; you believe everything will work itself out and anything you want you can have. Part of me still believes that. But in my junior year of college when I became pregnant with my son, home in California is where I ended up. Seven years later, here I am. While it is a blessing to raise my son in the same place I once grew up, there’s an uneasy feeling of complacency and lack of accomplishment that haunts me. Am I limiting my potential by staying in my hometown? Is there something out THERE that I should be doing? Am I playing it too safe?

These are just questions I have not answered for myself yet. And I think that’s healthy. I also think, change is good and one may be due for me soon. Whether it is career, lifestyle or location, I do know that I do not want to be the podcast caller relying on a complete stranger to make that decision for me. I also don’t want to spend 16 years figuring out if I’m happy where I am or if I need something more. The struggle… of growing up, I guess.


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