I used to think I was a classic Type A. I also used to think that I’d graduate from college and have a conventional life: career, marriage, offspring, suburbs. But the unexpected reality is quite the opposite. I’m 25, decidedly single, living in the city, and working as a photographer’s assistant/juice bar associate/nanny. And surprisingly, I’m happily enthralled with every unconventional inch of my crazy creative life.
But if there were one thing I would change, it would be my attention span (and, let’s face it, the fact that I start to look like a Chia Pet in the humidity). My regrettable attention span is particularly regrettable when it pertains to geographic locations, contentedness, and being committed (not as defined by mental institutions). For someone who hates change I tend to seek it out fairly frequently. I’m always on the hunt for a new job/place/plan. Even in the physical sense I’m always on the move, only staying at parties for 5 minutes longer than the socially acceptable amount of time before leaving, never making time to sit down and have a conversation on the phone with someone without simultaneously doing 8 other things.
Exactly one year ago, I left the comforts of home and all things known to drive around the country for 3 months on a cross-country roadtrip. When I left, everyone commented on how difficult it must have been to travel all that way, to be in so many different places and meet so many new people, all by myself. But the reality is that it wasn’t really that hard. There were times, of course, that were challenging. Like when I was crashing into other vehicles and pulling foreign objects out of the ground. But continually leaving? That wasn’t hard at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m good at relationships and good at loving people and places and things, but I’m also good at bolting. By the end of the trip I realized this personality glitch and wrote about it, but I haven’t done much since then to work on it. It being the inclination to bolt.
Said inclination runs deep within me. It’s been my game plan for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure why staying represents such a threat that I avoid it like the plague. It’s an avoidance that has caused me to travel through over 30 states in the past year. Even since I’ve come home from the roadtrip I’ve lived in four different places and had seven different jobs. Consistency, though it’s something I actively seek, doesn’t come easy for me.
So when the opportunity to have consistency arose, you’d think that I’d jump on it like a linebacker on an unprotected quarterback. Nope! I fought it with every fiber of my being. My temporary employment in Rochester was ending and I was on the lookout for a new job and a new place. In my mind I was already in North Carolina or Southeastern Pennsylvania, anywhere outside of New York, but especially outside of Rochester. Anywhere that didn’t involve staying put. (And anywhere that had a Chick-fil-A and temperate seasons, but who’s counting?)
But, like the good father he is, God chose for me what I wouldn’t have chosen for myself. He gave me everything I wanted, everything I was asking for (except for a Chick-fil-A…and temperate seasons), but precisely where I didn’t want it. I got a great job where I would have the opportunity to grow as a photographer. I got another great job where I would have the opportunity to be immersed in the world of nutrition and fitness. I got a beautiful apartment in the best part of the city. I got to be surrounded by more good friends than I deserve. But I had to stay in Rochester. That was the catch.
At first I consoled myself by thinking that it was “just for now” again. That I’d stay until I found something different. That I’d take all of the blessings but ignore the context. But that would be like eating a handful of blueberries, a tablespoon of butter, and a spoonful of sugar and calling it a pie. The ingredients are there, but the concept is all out of whack. It’s not fulfilling it’s true potential, not nearly as good as it was intended to be.
I realized that to take advantage of all of the great things happening for me in Rochester, I had to commit to staying. In Rochester. To staying in Rochester.
(Ulcer ulcer ulcer.)
So I went to the Post Office.
I may have had a minor panic attack when the clerk asked me if my change of address was permanent. (PERMANENT?!) And I may have let out an exasperated sigh when I replied affirmatively. (PERMANENT?!) But I’m hoping that in choosing to stay in one place geographically I’ll soon choose to “stay” in other areas of my life, specifically the ones you see listed above.
In conclusion: Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. While reading it the other day this verse stuck out to me:
Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
That’s something I truly desire. And through his ways, not my own, he’s already changing the way I think about staying and leaving. So here’s to many more changes in the days to come. Here’s to staying!