Are Ohioans Stuck, or Content?
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January 8, 2012 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm #89727
Stuck, or Content?
JULIE IRWIN ZIMMERMAN
DEC 21, 2011
When I moved to Ohio, which Florida cites as the third most “stuck” state in America, I, like Florida, assumed many people lived here because they lacked the chance to move somewhere better. I thought at the time I’d be here two years, maybe three, before moving onto the next opportunity.
Fifteen years later I’m still in Cincinnati, which has one of the highest rates of native-born residents in any urban area of the U.S. So many Cincinnatians were born here that when people ask you where you went to school, they’re referring to high school, not college. And in my years here, I’ve begun to understand why so many natives stay put, or leave the area for just a few years and then return. They’re not stuck. They’re content.January 8, 2012 8:56 pm at 8:56 pm #475884
It’s hard for me to imagine being more content elsewhere. Especially now that winter is over.
Actually, I really like winter.
Nice read.January 9, 2012 4:09 pm at 4:09 pm #475885
I think there’s a lot to the article, but I’m not sure that it applies to Columbus as much. When I think through all of the people I know, very few are native Columbusites, or even central Ohioans.
Of course, there are big businesses and sizable universities in any of the large Ohio cities, and they pull people in from all over the country and beyond, but I don’t get the sense that those people change the complexion of the other cities as much as the newcomers do to Columbus. And I don’t get the sense that the newcomers are as welcome by the ‘lifers’ elsewhere.
In many respects, I think of Columbus as being the Ohio version of Austin – it’s within its state, but not so much of it.
I suppose it’s hard to make such assertions authoritatively without spending as much time in the other cities as I have here, but the above is just my sense, given the experiences I have had.
Lemmeknowhatyouthink!January 9, 2012 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #475886
Sometimes, my idea of cities/other places is reflected in this exchange from American Splendor (the movie):
Harvey Pekar: You don’t have any problems with moving to Cleveland?
Joyce Brabner: Not really. I find most American cities to be depressing in the same way.
There are a mere handful of cities I would be really excited about moving to in the U.S. Otherwise, the overwhelming rest are really quite similar to each other (although I have my numerous preferences regarding vegetarian food, live music, live sports, weather & so on).
I think Columbus is easily the best city in Ohio but, of course, it’s not without its fundamental faults. Like all cities.
All that said, I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life in Ohio, with weather being a huge factor in my thinking.January 9, 2012 7:10 pm at 7:10 pm #475887
I’ve always sensed very distinct personalities in the cities I’ve spent a decent amount of time in, and often have fairly strong reactions to them. Couldn’t imagine perceiving them as being essentially interchangeable.January 9, 2012 7:20 pm at 7:20 pm #475888
If Columbus wasn’t where I most wanted to live, I wouldn’t live here. But I’d be very unlikely to consider living anywhere else in Ohio.
It does seem true, however, that people from elsewhere tend to appreciate Cbus more than we natives –unless, like myself, they’ve lived somewhere else in between. People who have never left here tend to romanticize every place else.January 9, 2012 7:24 pm at 7:24 pm #475889
I’ve always sensed very distinct personalities in the cities I’ve spent a decent amount of time in, and often have fairly strong reactions to them. Couldn’t imagine perceiving them as being essentially interchangeable.
Completely agree. I’ve lived in Nashville, rural TN, Raleigh, small town upstate-NY, rural PA, and here. The attitude of people and the general cultural climate of those two bigger cities vastly differs from that of Columbus.
And, having moved around some, I do find real contentness here in Columbus. I’ve found people like myself, with similar interests; and I’ve found people that have pushed me to learn new things, and to be engaged in a way that I’d not experienced in other cities. That push for engagement is a powerful thing.
Nashville & Raleigh are both places that are filled with transplants – which was weird when I lived in those places. I knew only one native in Raleigh, and in Nashville, I was the (returned) native.January 9, 2012 7:28 pm at 7:28 pm #475890
I’d consider myself to be pretty content here, for many of the same reasons the author of the original article says they’re content in Cincinnati. Ohio has big cities with exciting things going on, while still being affordable, accessible and friendly.
I think of it a bit in the same vein of choosing which bar to hang out at. One might be cooler than the other, or one might have a better cocktail menu than the other, or one might be cheaper than the other, but at the end of the day (or night?) what really matters is that you’re hanging out with your friends and having a good time and enjoying life. The rest is “set dressing”.January 9, 2012 7:33 pm at 7:33 pm #475891
I think Twixlen is onto something with the “sense of engagement” comment. I’ve always thought of it as a “sense of possibility”. Columbus is a place where you can make your own experience –and a place where you really have to make your own experience.
Unlike a place like New York, where the city will always be bigger than any and every given individual or group, in Columbus, one person can have a real and significant impact.
For people who want to be more passive in their relationship to where they live, this can be a bad thing. But for people who like being actively “engaged”, it comes with a lot of excitement.January 9, 2012 7:36 pm at 7:36 pm #475892
It does seem true, however, that people from elsewhere tend to appreciate Cbus more than we natives –unless, like myself, they’ve lived somewhere else in between. People who have never left here tend to romanticize every place else.
I see some of that myself, but also note the “back home we did it this way and it was BETTER” vibe from some.January 9, 2012 8:15 pm at 8:15 pm #475893
I’ve always lived in Ohio. I moved to Columbus in 2005. Just the act of moving to a new place is life changing. I feel like a much different person than I was before coming here from Cleveland. So I really don’t see the “Ohioans feel stuck” mentality in Columbus.
I think anyone can feel stuck no matter where they are. And when people do, it can be for a whole greater range of situations than simply the city they live in. Nonetheless, moving can be the catalyst to a fresh start that people sometimes need.January 9, 2012 8:24 pm at 8:24 pm #475894
I was discussing this with friends during over the New Year. When I moved to Cbus for my undergrad I was sure I would be out of here in ten years. Instead, I’ve married, bought a house, and have a job in a profession I love. While I’m open to moving elsewhere it would take something pretty compelling for me to leave Columbus.
Coming fron New Jersey, I love the cost of living here. I will never be a high earner (Librarianship is not known for their millionaires) and know that my salary stretches so much farther here than in most major cities. It gives me the opportunity to have a home base while still having funds to be able to travel and enjoy other parts of the world.
I also appreciate that Columbus feels like its always growing/improving. I like feeling like with just a bit of civic engagement people can make the most of their communities.
Cheesy as it sounds, there isn’t a week that goes by that the husband and I don’t walk around this city and comment how happy we are to live here.January 9, 2012 8:35 pm at 8:35 pm #475895
I think there is a lot to be said about moving a couple of times when you are young. It really does help to broaden experiences a bit, forces one to adapt to changes and remove the ‘I am stuck’ mentality.
Most of my friends moved to Columbus and the general feeling is that it is fairly ‘easy’ to live/make it here (jobs, cost of living, general expectations).January 9, 2012 8:55 pm at 8:55 pm #475896
I think anyone can feel stuck no matter where they are.
Agreed. Some people are just unhappy people, and some of those people project that onto their geography. “Things suck for me because of where I am” which turns into this “grass is greener” mentality. I imagine that’s applicable to a certain type of person in every corner of the world. ;)January 9, 2012 9:30 pm at 9:30 pm #475897
Agreed. Some people are just unhappy people, and some of those people project that onto their geography. “Things suck for me because of where I am” which turns into this “grass is greener” mentality. I imagine that’s applicable to a certain type of person in every corner of the world. ;)
The “no matter where you go, there you are” effect…
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