I have lived in the same city for most of my life. We came here when I was a little one (16 months old), and my parents have lived in the same house in the suburbs ever since.
Through university, I lived at home, and then moved into a shitty apartment downtown once I started working. I moved into a second, better, apartment nearly a year later, and lived there for three years until I moved in with my now-husband, back in the suburbs.
I’ve been at the same office for nearly eight years, and a girl I went to elementary school with for about a minute started here a few months ago. We ran into one another, and she sort of laughingly asked me if I still lived in the suburbs where we both lived back in the day. I explained that no, I was one surburb over now – not exactly a grand achievement, on paper – and it definitely felt to me like she thought less of me because I hadn’t gone off and lived somewhere grand for a period of time.
And sure, the city where I live is often referred to as “the city that fun forgot” (if google that, it’s pretty easy to figure out where we are, especially after John Oliver reported on our Ashley Madison scandal not too long ago). And while there are things I dislike about here – our winters, for example – I’ve done fairly well here. I have a good job, I have a good husband, a good home, two great children, family and friends…
There are pluses to my city, too. I left my purse at a Starbucks when I was pregnant with my son, and when I came back to grab it, it was still there, completely intact — the gentleman who found it simply put it up higher so I’d see it again. We’re generally pretty polite and friendly to one another, and I feel safe just about everywhere in my city, regardless of the time of day or night.
The city is medium-sized, which makes it easy enough to navigate, and there are usually multiple options for things. If a movie isn’t playing at a good time at one movie theatre, chances are it’s playing at another. A book isn’t in stock at this Chapters? There’s a good chance another one has it. Coffee stores are prevalent, there are lots of good restaurant options, we have really lovely walking trails, lots of great festivals, activities for the kids…
And while I do have a longish commute to get to my job, it’s not nearly as bad as some people do. And our transit system is pretty reasonable, so I can take the bus to and from work. I have a backyard my kids can play in, and space to get away from everyone if they’re driving me crazy.
Maybe it’s not the most exciting city, but it’s where I call home.