The Risk of Staying
I sat at my desk in December with a scrap piece of paper and a red pen. As I began to plan out my blog for An Uncomfortable January this was the post I knew I had to write.
It isn't the glamorous one or the post you will have come looking for on your own. If we were in high school, this post wouldn't be the dreamy guy all the girls have a crush on or the really funny one that made the rounds at all the parties. Instead this post is the friend you know you need - the one who keeps things balanced and in perspective. Like the friend in high school who talked me out of getting a flower tattooed on my foot when I turned 18. We need those people.
Two years ago my husband and I left our ideal lives on the West Coast to come back to my mid-sized hometown in Texas. It just about killed me. There was no thrill to being here - I knew this place and it knew me. For better or worse. Things weren't uncharted or fresh and - to be honest - I have a slight addiction to experiencing new things. I could easily spend my life moving on from one thing to the next in the pursuit of adventure.
I missed living in a big city with all of its foodie eateries, endless shops and unique neighborhoods that provided afternoons of exploration. Living in a place that people came to spend their vacations provided a sense of gratification. When I packed up boxes to load on the moving truck it felt like I was packing up every other exciting opportunity and sending it off for someone else to live.
Fast forward two years.
I attended a funeral several months ago at the church I grew up in. Surrounding me were people I had known since childhood. Memories began to swirl as I looked at the faces around me. Playing barefoot in backyards trying to catch mid-summer fireflies. Late night conversations by the lake dreaming about glittery futures. Airplane rides to foreign lands together. The flood of shared experiences made my lips curl and eventually break into a full-blown smile.
These people and this place. We hold each others secrets and stories. Maybe staying here isn't so bad after all.
So many of us idolize risk taking as a daring adventure that sets big dreams in motion and launches us to exciting destinations. Hello, didn't you see Eat, Pray, Love? ( don't see it. I didn't like that movie actually ) In my life I have traveled to over twenty countries and have numerous exciting stories to share. I've risked big and made a home on many limbs.
Right now though, I am learning a different type of risk. The risk of staying. Don't be fooled - in many ways it is the most uncomfortable and risky thing I have ever done.
Staying is giving up all the other "what ifs" in order to hold onto what already is. It is choosing to commit and therefore cut off other options. You forfeit the ability to just take off when things don't go as well as you planned. You risk being bored. Ultimately staying requires the kind of bravery that cultivates instead of fluctuates.
This month some of us need to risk by going further and others need to risk by going deeper. Maybe you need to chase your dreams or maybe you need to plant your dreams. There are times and moments for both.
I love big skylines at night and streets buzzing with tourists. But I also love this place I'm in that is on the brink of something amazing. And I'm gonna stay here a while and help build this city into what I believe it can become. 'Cause I'm risky like that in 2014.
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