I have a love hate relationship with Connecticut. I love it because it is familiar and safe for me. I hate it because it seems like there are few opportunities and it makes me feel stagnant, like I am missing out on all the excitement going out outside its borders.
I was born and grew up in Connecticut. At one point in high school my family considered moving. That thought scared me. Connecticut was safe (although I was bullied constantly during my childhood). I went to college in Boston. When I graduated in 1993 it was really difficult to get a job with a BA in psychology. So I moved back to Connecticut and live with my parents for a while. I drove a delivery truck and felt anxious and ashamed that I could not find a better job. At that time Connecticut felt stifling to me. There did not seem to be much opportunity and there was not much to do. Then I moved to Washington, DC. City life was more interesting but it was also more stressful. I went to law school in New Orleans. Again, more interesting but stressful. I got married and moved to Scranton which felt safe but then stifling. So we move to Philadelphia where I worked for a law firm bored out of my mind, stressed and ashamed because my position did not allow for advancement. My marriage got worse. I became very anxious and depressed. After I got laid off in 2009 I moved back to Connecticut and with my parents. We had been talking about relocating to Connecticut. The idea seemed appealing to me. I had friends and family in the area and the schools are good. I now see that I just wanted some safety in my life. At first the feeling of safety was inviting but finally it became stifling again. My marriage is better now and soon we will be moving to North Carolina.
Connecticut is unique in that there is nothing really unique about it. I had a girlfriend in college who took pride in the fact that she came from Tennessee. During an argument she jabbed at me that I came from a state known for absolutely nothing. I found it strange that she took pride in her state. I can’t imagine anyone being gung-ho Connecticut. One time I was talking with a friend’s wife from Massachusetts. I tried to find a point of commonality and pointed out that we were fellow New Englanders. She looked at me strangely and said, “Connecticut isn’t part of New England.” I found this kind of insulting. She said, “I always thought of Connecticut as that state you drive through…” Sometimes I think about this conversation and get angry.
I grew up in suburban Connecticut outside of Hartford. I always felt like there was no real community with roots. Most of the population was transplanted. There were very few families that could claim to be multi-generational citizens of Connecticut. When kids went to college they rarely came back. I sort of felt like I had missed out on something because of that.
Connecticut is also full of crappy cities. Without exception, all the cities in Connecticut are run down, poor and without any real attractions. When I was a kid I used to go to Hartford Whalers games. They moved out of the state some time ago. There is always the sense that Connecticut was better back in the 1960s. I was born in 1971.
I recently got a job where I work from home. So now I can move and take my job with me. My wife and I decided to move to North Carolina where the schools are good, there’s a lower cost of living and there is an energy to it. Connecticut is very safe and has served its purpose. I will miss the Fall in Connecticut. I’m sure after a while I will begin to miss the safety as well. For me, however, the safety is a box that has confined me. The outside world is more stressful but I want to grow and I have to move on.
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