Sticking To What's Comfortable Doesn't Mean You're Settling For Less


After a year and a half of living in Richmond, I began to look for another job. I spent a few hours every night searching online for a job within the city that matched my skill set.

After a long bout of applications one night, I went to bed contemplating what exactly is my dream job. Most of those choices weren’t going to be in Richmond. A feeling of adventure washed over me, and I wanted to apply everywhere outside of my town.

I have no family here; I have no property here, and I have no real stake here, other than my roommates, friends and the fact that I absolutely love it here and want desperately to stay.

"Is staying here settling?," I began to wonder. Am I taking the easy route, simply because staying is easier than going? Am I enticed to stay because I finally have a routine, a quality friend group and my hobbies are fulfilled?

I’ve finally figured out how to get around the city without getting lost. Not to mention, my professional network has grown in Richmond, which makes finding job leads relatively easier around the city. Staying is definitely less complicated than leaving.

I stayed. And, in the back of my mind, I feel the clawing wonder about what leaving would have felt like.

I’ve always prided myself on not being a "stayer." I want to be that person who takes on the world, doesn’t settle, makes big moves and has everyone wondering, “How’d she do it?” I always learn more about myself and my strength, when faced with a new challenge.

Rebuilding your life in a new city is an obvious challenge. But, so is staying.

I started a new career two months ago, and it’s incredibly challenging. There are endless amounts of work to be done, decisions to be made and major growth to actualize. It’s absolutely wonderfully challenging and rewarding.

This was also the time I had the realization that staying and settling are not synonymous. I didn’t settle because I didn’t take a job beneath me. I would even go as far to say that it’s a reach. Every day, I need to be on my "A" game.

I didn’t settle because Richmond (and this new job) is exactly where I want to be right now. I didn’t settle because there is a real difference between growing roots in a community of which you want to be a part, and staying somewhere because it’s easy or your only choice. Growing roots is one of the biggest joys of staying.

When I first got to Richmond, I could go out to every bar and restaurant in the city and run into not a single familiar face.

After a year and a half, I could go into every bar and restaurant in the city and potentially run into several familiar faces at each of them.

Being a member of a familiar community feels like home.

While there is something to be said about moving endlessly to always pursue another adventure, I’ve missed the feeling of home since going to college.

Even when I’d go home during breaks in college, it didn’t feel like home anymore because I wasn’t immersed in it. And, college never felt like home because I always knew it was temporary.

For someone who grew up in one house for my entire life (or at least the entire part of my life I remember), having a sense of home is a value to which I aspire, and a value I didn’t know I held until I left one home in search of the next adventure.

Being able to distinguish when I am making the informed decision to stay and identifying when I am settling has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since moving away from home.

There’s nothing wrong with staying. In fact, I've realized that being able to stay and build a gratifying life in one location for a prolonged period of time is a true measure of success.