Shortly before I made my way to Texas on my cross-country drive, a non-Texan reminded me that Texans believe there’s no better place to live. The words were spoken partly critically, partly in disbelief that residents could be so cocky.

I’ve never been any place where residents demonstrate such pride in their state or community. Practically everyone I have encountered has talked about Texas as if he or she is a paid representative of the visitors’ bureau.

Whether selling beer or trucks, billboards co-brand with the word and/or shape of Texas. Highway overpasses display the Texas star, as do city trash bins, light fixtures, benches and even an occasional sidewalk.

A popular home décor style here is displaying items with the Texas star, flag and name. While the rest of the United States has formal, business, and business casual as the varying degrees of suggested attire for parties and functions, Texas also has “Texas Casual,” which means cowboy boots and hats, jeans, and big belt buckles are fine or even encouraged, my central Texas friend explained.

After spending a couple weeks in Texas, I have to admit that I’m not surprised by the pride Texans have. I too greatly admire the cities of San Antonio and Austin, the warm weather in early November, the friendliness of the people, the green landscape of central Texas, and the wide-open spaces.

 

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All this confidence and loyalty here in Texas got me thinking. How much is too much pride or blind faith in one’s community, one’s own professional pursuits, or a relationship? When should we hold on, believing that there’s nothing better out there? And when do we give up on our dream of what’s possible?

What instantly came to mind were the Sacramentans who steadfastly held to the belief that California’s capital was worthy of and capable of keeping its pro basketball team — and took direct action to save the Sacramento Kings. I admire what those passionate purple people accomplished, and am happy for Sacramento.

On the flip side, I thought of my own situation. I was with a long-time employer and received great benefits. I worked with talented professionals at the newspaper and at the businesses we covered. I lived in a pretty city, was blessed with dear and supportive friends, and led a comfortable enough life. But I wanted and needed more. Sometimes you need to see what’s around the corner. The trick is to know when you’re just settling or when you’re living your best life.

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