Had the pleasure of listening to and meeting University of Indiana professor and author Scott Russel Sanders last night. He was discussing his book “Staying Put” which challenges the reader to consider the value of committing to live in a particular place for a long period of time (an intimate sense of community & belonging for example). His premise is that A) our culture doesn’t emphasize this anymore and B) challenges have evolved which didn’t exist when people lived long periods of their lives in one place.
It got me thinking about the fact that I’ve now lived in Idaho longer (almost 20 years) than anywhere else in my life.
I’ve been fortunate to have travelled extensively. I’ve lived in 4 major cities, spent time in all 50 States and visited over 70 countries, but I’m always so grateful to come home to Boise. I’ve really enjoyed learning about and exploring where I live but more than anything, I love the feeling of being part of my community; something I didn’t get to experience living in large cities or moving around when I was younger. I’m curious how members of younger generations think about this…

Showing 3 comments
  • Casey Ames

    Interesting that his book says that we need to stay put more. I think the statistics actually show that we are indeed staying in place more. Tyler Cowen covered it a bit in his book “The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream” and actually argues we need to move more. (http://time.com/4677919/tyler-cowen-book/)

    “The interstate migration rate has fallen 51 percent below its 1948–1971 average, and that number has been falling steadily since the mid-1980s”

    As someone of the younger generation at 27 years old, my move to Boise with my fiance in March was inspired by the idea of settling down and investing in a community for the long run. We lived in Seattle and had friends come and go, but didn’t feel the sense of community.

    Also, working from my computer for the last 4 years, I’ve certainly seen the polar opposite of “digital nomads” who travel perpetually with little sense of community. This often times seems to end up with some lostness with a lack of a grounding community.

    I think the real issue is we need to be more conscious of where we “stay put” at. I think there is a complacency, as Cowen talks about, but I don’t think moving for moving’s sake is the answer. I think Richard Florida’s work on why choosing your city is a top 3 life choice decision is very true. After lots of reflection and learning more about our prioritize, we should consciously choose a city that matches our “ambitions” (Paul Graham’s essay: http://www.paulgraham.com/cities.html) to help us grow into our potential by investing deeper and deeper into a community we truly believe in and feel a part of.

  • David Kircos

    I feel that my generation (90s) values commitment less than previous generations. In terms of relationships, residence, and work. It’s easy to pick up an change any one of these things. This is something I think about a lot because I believe that the most important things we build in life: families, business, communities. All require long term commitment to people and place.

    Maybe my generation is simply too young, but I do feel there is a real trend towards less long term commitment.

    • Mark Solon

      I like the way you’re thinking about it.

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