Bloom Where You’re Planted… Or Not

(June 9, 2018) I recently toured the stunning estate and gardens of Lotusland here in Santa Barbara. My favorite area was the cacti garden. The docent leading our tour told us that only one of the hundreds of flourishing cacti planted in the gardens was native to California. That got me thinking about the phrase, “Bloom where you’re planted.”

Barrel cacti
Mexican barrel cacti blooming in California.

I’ve always had an issue with that phrase. I understand its intent and I absolutely think anyone can bloom where they’re living, but we’re not plants, we’re human, and if we don’t like where we’re planted, we can dig up our roots and plant ourselves somewhere else.

I lived in the Midwest for 40+ years before I moved to California. And, I bloomed where I was planted. I graduated from the best journalism school in the country, got my Masters degree while I worked full time, and rose through the ranks of corporate America to become a vice president in my industry. The Midwest was good to me and it will always be my home, but I wonder what would have happened if I had been willing to move earlier in my career.

I stayed in the Midwest to be near my family and friends. And, that is an amazing reason to stay anywhere. That love is what makes the prettiest blooms. But, if you uproot and move, that love doesn’t go anywhere. I found that out when I moved to California.

When I was considering moving to California, my sister gave me great advice. She said, “Everyone has to do what’s right for themselves.” That made my decision for me. I was staying where I was planted for everyone else. Don’t get me wrong. I miss seeing my family every day, but they all have their own lives. They make their decisions based on what’s right for them. It was time for me to do something based on what was right for me.

It’s easier for me because I’m single and I’m not raising kids, but don’t think it’s impossible for you if you are in a relationship and/or are raising children. Millions of people just like you do it every day. Believe me, you’re not going to be the first person to move your family away from your comfort zone.

If you’re thinking about uprooting, here are some questions that might help you make up your mind:

Why do you stay where you are now?

  1. Do you love the natural environment of the area you live? Do you wake up every day and think I want to go outside and explore my physical environment all day long? If not, it might be worth considering moving to a place where you love exploring every day.
  2. Do you stay because of family? Do you rely on your family to help with housing, children, emotional support, etc.? That’s a solid reason to stay. Family is the best support there is. If you literally need that support, we’ve all been there. Stay. That doesn’t mean that you can’t head out later though.
  3. Do you stay because you have the most perfect job ever that you gleefully run to every day? Stay. That’s rare and you are in a good place. BUT, you might be able to find that same job somewhere else and/or relocate with the same company.
  4. Do you stay because the cost-of-living is too expense where you want to go? I don’t like this reason. There’s always a way to make it work. You might have to downsize severely and give up some things, but you can always find away. Living in California is SO expensive, but I’ve given up a lot of things I used to do to afford it. I rarely shop. I don’t get manicures, pedicures, etc. I don’t order food for delivery. You’d be surprised how much you spend on things like that. It’s all a matter of priorities. There is no right way to do it. Everyone has different priorities.
  5. Do you stay because your significant other wants to stay? That’s a good reason. You have to know what works for your relationship. But, a relationship should work both ways. I’m not preaching because I don’t know what it’s like. You have to do what’s right for you, but if you’re longing to uproot and try something else, at least make sure your significant other knows that. You never know, they might be thinking the same thing.
  6. Do you stay because you don’t want to uproot your kids? Again, I don’t know what that’s like, so you’ll have to tell me, but it doesn’t prevent you from uprooting when they’re raised and on their own. You might want to hang around for your future grandkids, but they might end up moving, too. Everyone has to do what’s right for themselves.

I hope this helped you think a little bit. If you want to stay and bloom where you’re planted, do it. Bloom like crazy!!! But if you think you could bloom more beautifully somewhere else, uproot and replant. As I’ve always told my nieces, there are no perfect decisions. The thing that is great about decisions is that if you make one that doesn’t work out, you can make another one and another one until you find the right one. Bloom on, my friends!

More on this: When A Door Closes, Somewhere A Window Opens – Or Does It? and The Freedom To Be Yourself

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