I grew up in a city on the outskirts of Manhattan filled with what I lovingly refer to as townies. You know the type, bleeds for their home-turf, totally satisfied with never living outside of the confines of where they are from, likely married their high school sweetheart and are now living through year 10 of "well, at least I still have beer." If you're not familiar with what a townie is, just watch one of Kevin Smith's cult classics like "Clerks" or "Mallrats" for next level comprehension.
While I have no aspirations to spend the rest of my life slowly dying in the city that made me, there are a lot of people I know and love who will do just that until their final breath. It doesn't mean they are bad people or that they are unmotivated or whatever other deprecating assumption you can come up with. I think it's more based on fear, fear of change and the unknown, fear of what lies beyond one's comfort zone.
It's a natural inclination to fear what is unknown to us. As human beings, our primal senses urge us to stay safe, to remain with our pack. Even if our pack is a city with crappy public schools and potholes on every street. Those living by the townie creed don't stay because they have no chance of somewhere else to go, but because comfort is a helluva drug.
When I was in my early 20's, my parents sold my childhood home, one that had been in my family for over 30 years, and moved all the way to sunny Florida. I remained behind incredibly compelled to maintain my townie lifestyle. I protested almost everything when I visited them. From the new brands, they were buying (because I didn't realize that in some states they just don't carry Wize brand potato chips) to my frustration over a more lengthy drive to the local Dunkin'.
For years, I let this foolish attachment to the place we once called home erode my relationships with the people I loved the most. After years of intense anguish and resentment, I finally caved and joined my ever-growing family in Florida as I pursued my Bachelor's degree. After a few months living in a new city and state, I came to find the things that truly made me happy in life still existed regardless of my zip-code.
It took me quite some time to realize that all of the fear built up inside of me over such a drastic change was kind of unfounded. For the human psyche, fear is the most powerful motivator or deterrent, depending on your perspective. But no matter what you think about the world outside of yours that seems foreign and unlivable, odds are most of those fears are unjustified and furthermore, humankind is adaptable if nothing else. So if you're struggling with what your life could be for lack of fear of the unknown, I encourage you to take the leap. Most of us only regret the choices we don't make.