If it’s a stable life, stay awhile

By Jeff Smith


When I was in high school and then in college I thought it would be fun to travel more. Two weeks after I graduated college I received my first job in the journalism field.

I have been to eight states and have only been to Mexico when I was younger. I don’t regret going directly to the workforce after graduation. Plus, I am still young and I can can do some traveling later in life.

I do get somewhat envious of people I graduated with who are missionaries full-time and can travel where they want as long as they receive the funds to do so. At the same time, I think they have to feel called to serve others in order to do this. If someone truly cares about spreading the gospel I think a small part of it is getting to go somewhere fun and exciting.

A lot of people do find the expatriate life or the transient life fulfilling and they don’t have a desire to settle down or raise a family. I don’t want to say these people live without responsibilities because no one is ever totally free of responsibilities. I think one can get accustomed to traveling a lot and never being in one place very long.

It reminds me of Jack Kerouac in “On the Road” who always had his suitcase packed by his bed to go whenever he felt the road calling.

But books don’t often depict the whole truth. There might have been more young people inspired by the beat generation five or 10 years ago but I’m not sure if that is the case anymore.

I think my generation cares a lot about social mobility and moving up the career ladder as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that could mean job hunting often for positions with high authority. They travel for a purpose now and are not just aimlessly meandering around the country.

In an article for Relevant Magazine, Tim Mascara questions why people move over financial stability and not communal stability.

Mascara says that the culture of transience is not changing anytime soon. He calls for a personal revolution of stability. In a Rule of Life, monasteries make people commit to living their life a certain way. Among the ways to live there is a vow of stability. It is a vow to remain in the community barring being sent out as a missionary.

Mascara reminds us that we must have a sense of place, an understanding of place and you cannot have this without time spent there.

To me this means recognizing children on the playground, going to church not only because it is the right thing to do but because I care about the people inside, and learning the names of everybody you meet in a town.

I’ve found that small town South Dakota isn’t a bad place for a millennial. Yet, the rest of South Dakota doesn’t have the great hiking trails and different types of attractions like Hill City and Keystone does.

Interestingly, a team of analysts with the website Wallethub recently compiled a list of the best and worst places for millennials to live. South Dakota came in at number 10.

Nebraska came in at number eight and North Dakota was number two. Seven of the locations listed were in the midwest. There were 30 different metrics looked at in the study. Among them were affordability, quality of life, economic health and civic engagement. The article that featured the study noted that millennials who live and work in the states ranked higher in WalletHub’s study may find themselves with easier access to the kinds of job prospects that will set them up for greater success in the future.

I suppose that is good news for me. The worst locations for millennials were in the southern and western United States. I don’t think there are going to be scores of southern millennials traveling to the area because of the study.

I think every area in this country has its strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes people are willing to live in a state with a depressed economy because of their family and friends. People are willing to stick together through thick and thin.  Affordable homes are another plus.

On the other side of the spectrum is the Baby Boomers. As this population ages there is going to be a “silver tsunami” that is going to be retiring and traveling more.

This leaves 2.34 million businesses owned by this generation to either be sold, handed down to children or grandchildren or closed. Too often, the option chosen is to close them down.

Maybe if more people would stick around small towns and places that might not seem that exciting there would be lots of businesses that would stay in the family for generations.

But I think growing up seeing struggles parents face turn people away from doing that.

I don’t think young people are afraid to take risks though. They are afraid to not take risks. They want to be in the entertainment industry, have their own startups and be creative.

Even if it’s not the best job someone has there are a number of reasons to keep it. I think a large reason is the likeability factor.

I think everyone is constantly striving for stability. This is a luxury for a person at any age. Financial and emotional stability is nice. So is having a place where everybody knows you.