Away From the Familiar

Home is where the heart is, but is it also where your job is?

I’ve noticed that more people live and work where they grew up instead of moving on to somewhere new.

I’ve found the two most common scenarios are, they;

  1. Graduate from high school and start working immediately in or around their home town, or
  2. Go off to college and then come back to their home town to find work, and maybe even move back in with their family

But then there’s a small group who graduate from college or high school and then move away or don’t return to their home town. But why is it that the majority of young adults go back or stay in their home towns to work and live instead of uprooting themselves and starting a life somewhere else.

Short answer; we like the familiar.

Sometimes I think about moving back to my home town of Santa Cruz, CA, which I almost did after college if it would not have been for a timely job offer. I still have a strong pull there because it holds all of my memories growing up. I know all the restaurants, I know how to navigate all the streets, and I have a lot of friends and family there. It makes sense to want to go back because it’s comfortable and effortless to assimilate.

When I lived and worked in Washington, D.C. one summer, all of my colleagues were from the East Coast and that’s where they wanted to stay to work. I even remember one saying ‘I would NEVER move to California!’ To me that made no sense because California is an ideal place; warm weather, beautiful beaches and laid back people. But to someone who isn’t from there, it may be all these things, but it is also unfamiliar.  It’s not the culture or lifestyle they’re use to and they’re family and friends aren’t close by, making it a less ideal location to put down roots.

It makes sense, however, it also saddens me a little that people don’t have a sense for adventure or the courage to put themselves in an ‘uncomfortable’ position by moving away from the familiar. I wish that more people resisted the urge to go back or stay where they’re from and rather forge a new path. Then again it’s never too late to relocate, at least for a little while.

Although I don’t want to move to the East Coast, living there for a few months provided a different perspective on things, and allowed me to experience a whole other life. Even though it wasn’t for me, the experience left me open-minded and appreciative of what I was returning to.

Sometimes it’s good to be uncomfortable, because it gets you in touch with what you really want and also helps you to realize what you’ve been missing.

I think a lot of people would be surprised of how much they could grow by uprooting and planting themselves somewhere new.

One thought to “Away From the Familiar”

  1. Very insightful observation. It seemed that way to me when I graduated from college and that was almost 40 years ago! I read a recent report in my Alumni newsletter from the college I attended in Northern CA. The study said that nearly 34% of the 2010 graduates actually planned to stay in their college town. Although 26% of the graduates were from L.A. only 8% had plans to move back home (who would want to move back to L.A. anyway) and 20% had plans to move out of state or out of the country. So maybe more graduates are actually going places besides back to home. Sometimes our observations lead us to think one way until we do more research and find out otherwise.

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