January 31st marked 6 months since we moved to Colorado, and we’re still trucking along. We got the house on the 30th, and everything’s great for the most part.
Awhile back, I listed the positives and negatives of living in Tennessee versus Colorado. For the sake of tracking progress, I’m rambling through a few of the major differences that still stand out to me:
- Self-Efficacy. Most people out here seem to be the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of people. Everyone works hard with minimal complaints. This probably has everything to do with the snow. For instance, most people shovel snow without complaining, whereas our roommate barely made it through the feat. He whined afterwards about how much his shoulder hurt, even though Keegan shoveled the first 4 times, and I gave it a go after the 5th blizzard.
- Racism. I’ll just go ahead and say it–while racism’s normally associated with the South, it’s apparently more prevelant in predominately White settings, such as Fort Collins. I’ve encountered people at parties who let something slip, and they don’t even realize it’s racist. You would think that a town full of highly educated people would understand white privilege, but not really. I’m frankly amused and disgusted when someone acts afraid to jog at night or points out how the “rough” part of town is “so ghetto”. (There is no such thing as a “rough part of town” around here) Fort Collins natives have no idea how the world really works. I’ve found myself one-upping people constantly by referencing South Nashville, but even Antioch is nothing compared to Detroit.
- Food. This is a tough call. Fort Collins and Boulder boast the most fast-casual restaurants in the country, and this concept was cool at first. But Friday night, we splurged on Italian food in a traditional setting at Santeramos, and it was nice to have someone waiting on us, for once. I’m unconvinced Fort Collins has better food than Nashville or Murfreesboro for that matter, but we love D.P. Dough, Cafe Panache and Human Bean.
- People. Still missing my friends and family back home. The most genuine friends we’ve made so far don’t originate from Fort Collins, and I’ll leave it at that. Even Christine’s friends from New Orleans made remarks about the culture shock moving from the South to a place like this. The nicest and least fake people we have met are former Southerners and our friends from Vermont. Greeley is full of genuine souls, while Fort Collins…..isn’t. (Excuse my bitterness.)
- Music. Nashville’s music scene is better, but I’m not plugged into Denver, yet. Once I have more free time, things could change.
- Booz. The variety of booz is better out here, so that’s a plus.
- Scenery. Still very much in love with the landscape and what this area has to offer–Horsetooth Reservoir, Rocky Mountain National Park, Devil’s Backbone, Laramie in Wyoming, plus an ample amount of local parks carved into neighborhoods.
- Traffic. I love driving out here compared to Nashville. Back home I felt defensive, whereas out here, I can drive along peacefully without someone flipping me off, cutting me off or theatening to kill me, which has literally happened before.
- Housing. Properties are cheaper in Nashville, but Greeley will be gentrified soon enough. Our house sits on the edge on Greeley and Evans, and compared with the lager cities nearby (Fort Collins, Loveland and Boulder), Greeley is by far the cheapest. We got a steal of a deal, and developers predict housing prices will double in the next 10 years. We couldn’t have picked a better time to land a mortgage!
- Health. My health has improved tremedously. Before we moved, we drank every weekend and barely exercised, ever. The great thing about assimilating to Colorado is how exercise becomes a part of life. My personal trainer taught me the basics but with a gym membership, I don’t rely on her to workout, either. And aside from the gym, we have a shit ton of hiking trails everywhere. Between the trails, parks and natural areas near our house, plus several restaurants and grocery stores, there’s no excuse not to walk unless it’s absolutely freezing. I appreciate the accessibility to outdoor activities and the opportunities to improve my health, which almost makes up for the shitty, racist people.
That about sums up the last 6 months. I skirted the edge of depression from the end of October through mid December, but luckily those feelings passed. You’d be crazy not to feel depressed with such a major life change, but social support made all the difference. Music pulled me through the ups and downs, too, along with my amazing hubby.
This move hasn’t been easy, but the results are so worth it. I’ll never forget at Oprah’s Life You Want Tour in September 2014 how the aerobics instructor cried out, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!”. Her words resonate with me, even till this day. Moving to Colorado has proven I’m stronger than I think, and resilency is everything. I’m eager to move and especially excited for more free time once I graduate in December.