Lately it seems that every time I turn around someone is saying something not very nice about the place I have lived now for the past 17 years. A place I love, though I am fully aware of its flaws. The place I am choosing to raise my family and which has given my kids so much more than I ever had as a child. A place that, oddly enough, frequently ranks quite highly on a number of lists of the top places in the nation to live.
This kind of bugs. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve lived in Europe. I’ve been to Southern California a number of times and even been east of the Mississippi. So it’s not like I am completely oblivious to life outside the Beehive state. But even when I chose to relocate here after graduating from college one of my family members said to me, “Why on earth would you want to live there?” Gimme a break! I live here because I like it here. Yes, there are a few (not all) characteristics I see displayed by a few (not all–not even anywhere near the majority) people that drive me a bit buggy. And while it’s true any time you have a high concentration of any one demographic living in the same place things can get a little weird, Utah truly is still a pretty great state.
I’m not the only one who thinks so. Are you sitting down? There are wonderful, kind, intelligent, educated and even fashionable people in my very neighborhood who live here and love it here, too.
I’ll never forget one night when some friends of ours took us out to dinner up at Sundance. She has had a successful career as a runway model in all the major fashion hot spots in the world. He has worked with some major names in the recording industry and now produces huge trade shows all over the world. They have visited and lived all over the world–both coasts, Europe, etc. A few years ago they moved from LA to the end of my street. They weren’t members of the church at the time, but later they were baptized. They now share time between their home here and a home in Nevada. My point is, these people have lived all over the world and they certainly have options about where they live now. During our dinner conversation, Rob, who is very passionate about the subject, brought up how much he loves living here in Utah (in Provo no less). He went on and on about what a great place it is to live–so much so he had me dying to live here and I already do!
A number of recent comments all over the blogosphere (don’t get me started) ripping on those of us who live along the Wasatch front have left me with a running composition–an “In Defense of Utah” post–in my head. But it would be as futile to play point and counterpoint all day long with the haters on the left as it is to defend the rules or decisions I make to my 13-year-old daughter. And, just like there is no point in explaining things I know because of my experience as an adult to said young daughter, nor is there any point explaining things I know because I actually live here to someone who does not live here or to someone who lived here 20 years ago.
So what’s a Utah transplant to do?
Some families I know have a rule at their house that if someone says something not nice about someone they have to follow it up with something nice. So here’s the deal, today you get to rant and rave about where you live. Because it’s my post and I’ll make rules if I want to, there are indeed some rules:
You cannot knock someone else’s state (namely mine) unless you actually live there (meaning, you only get to rant about your own state). Tell me something you really hate about where you live. But here’s the catch. Since I’m a bad news first good news last kind of girl, you have to follow up your rant with something you really love about your state.
Oh, and if you cannot come up with one single thing you love about where you live? Well, there is a house for sale right across the street from me. I’ll even help you move in. I may even bring you a casserole. Or some green JELL-O.