The burden of opportunity
Growing up I had every opportunity offered to me. I had supportive parents, a network of friends, and an excellent educational background that prepared me for the “real world.”
Despite having the opportunity to go anywhere and be anything, I had decided to stay in the same area I grew up in as a young professional. Following closely in the footsteps of my family and firmly planted my roots in Southeast Michigan.
It seemed like a no-brainer. All of my friends and family were around, I loved the area and could very easily form a vision for the rest of my life.
During this time, I had never been more confident in myself. I felt like I was exactly where I wanted to be and doing what I should be doing. I embraced the “Michigan” culture and felt a strong connection to the area.
Eventually, through an opportunity at work, I relocated to Seattle, an area of the country much different than the flyover states of the midwest. Instead of embracing the change, I became more rooted in my belief that I belonged back home. That it was “who I was” and to spend an extended period of time away would rob me of my full potential.
This is not to say I didn’t enjoy my time in Seattle, it just always felt temporary, like there was an expiration date on the amount of time I would be there. In a transplant city, it felt natural to be “out of place” and it validated my Michigan identity and roots.
I followed this passion back home and upon my arrival realized how much I had changed. I no longer felt like I fit into my home area and it began to cause me a lot of distress. Questions continued to rise about who I was and want I really wanted. If it’s not the midwest lifestyle then who am I actually?
Anxiety started by overthinking my situation. Without Southeast Michigan as an anchor for who I was then who could I be without it? I began to really question who I was and what I wanted my life to look like.
In a Wall Street Journal article, this point was highlighted on a broader scale. The article describes the West’s struggle for mental health citing that societies that offer more opportunities seem to have higher rates of…