Last week, we Rockfordians, had the pleasure of seeing Forbes latest list hit the internet news stands of the 20 Most Miserable Cities in America .
Our city, the one we call home, sweet, home, was listed at #3. Ouch. Well, not really though.
As a recent boomeranger to my hometown, seeing Rockford ranked in the top 3 of the so called "most miserable cities" made my heart sink for approximately 30 seconds and then I moved on with my day.
This Rockfordian recently migrated back after living in a city that is always ranked in the top 5 of most beautiful, most charming, most attractive people, most young professionals, etc... Our stuff doesn't stink in Charleston, if you know what I mean. We're envied by many and we're where people save up their hard earned dollars to vacation and get away from their miserable cities, I would imagine.
That being said, Forbes doesn't know a few things that I do.
What Forbes doesn't tell you is that our real estate prices are insanely awesome. My hubby and I are house hunting and I'm like a kid in a candy store. We've looked at some gorgeous homes, some even in the 4,000 sq foot range for a quarter of the price (if that) that I would've been asked to pay elsewhere. It's amazing and 100% the opposite of miserable.
What Forbes also doesn't tell you is that many of our residential areas are still filled with ample land (real, green, kick your shoes off grass), trees, and wildlife that I would've had to travel to a state park to see elsewhere. I've been back for 8 months now and I still LOVE driving down the roads here and seeing so many wooded areas, parks, and subdivisions that don't look like a cookie cutter explosion. The hubs and I get to live on almost 2 acres of partially wooded land in the middle of the city, and we actually have horses just a few houses down from us. Horses and barns and silos amongst the neighborhoods. Ahhh, can you smell the fresh air yet?
What Forbes has actually told you somewhat correctly is that we do have an unemployment problem in Rockford. What I believe to be a truer statement is that we have an education problem. Without a culture of education and higher education, the attainment of the right job is almost impossible. However, what Forbes doesn't know is that there are many people here working to fix this issue. You have to start somewhere and they've certainly started.
Are there miserable people here, sure. There are miserable people everywhere and sadly, they're often the more vocal of the bunch. However, are there many more people here that aren't miserable? I'd have to believe so.
Am I personally miserable? Far from it. I love eating my way through the amazing restaurants here that could stand up next to the restaurants in Charleston that I have put high upon a pedestal. I love seeing so much green grass, so many rivers, snowflakes, along with good people who work hard just like anyone else does in any city, albeit most beautiful or so called "most miserable".
Your city is what you make of it, and not what Forbes thinks about it.
Honestly, Forbes should've asked me, the girl who left the south kicking and screaming to move back to Rockford slightly against her will. I would've told them straight up, "It's not as bad as you think, my Forbes friends. Actually, it's kind of awesome, even if I'm eating my own words from 10 months ago."