Why? Home (My Story)!

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I’ve been writing this post in my head for about a month now.  Actually,  I’ve probably been writing it for longer than that, but it started to shape itself into a post about a month ago.  It occurred to me that in sharing with all of you my answers to “Why Cleveland?,” I haven’t shared fully what keeps me here – what’s brought me back here more than once.  As amazing as the culture and the restaurants and the museums are, that’s not the reason I make my life here.  And, don’t worry, there will be plenty more talking about culture and restaurants and museums to come.  But, for today, I wanted to share my CLE story…

I’ve left CLE twice and come back twice.  And my CLE story is much more about the coming back than about the leaving.  The first time I returned to CLE, I had just finished graduate school.  I had the job of my dreams waiting for me.  I had an adorable house to live in.  And I was back in the town where I grew up – older, wiser, ready to take on the world.  I felt like Mary Tyler Moore or something.  I was on top of the world.

This Sunday, it will be two years since I returned to CLE the second time.  And that time felt very different.  My personal life had disintegrated seemingly overnight (it’s never really overnight though, is it?).  I didn’t know what life held the next day, the next week, the next month.  But I knew I needed to go home.  I quit my job, moved back to CLE, hunkered down in CLEparents’ house, and tried to ride out the storm.  I was the lowest I have ever been.

But both times I returned to CLE it was my choice.  Even the second time, when it felt more like a visceral reaction to pain, it was most definitely a conscious choice.  Both times I’ve returned to something that is here and nowhere else.  It would be easy to say that what drew me back to CLE both times was family and friends.  They are and always will be my main anchor here.  But it’s more than just that.

I’ve found opportunities in CLE.  I’ve found a city that – like me – has had it’s ups and downs, but perseveres and – dare I say – thrives.  Each time I’ve come home, life has taken unexpected and mostly wonderful twists and turns.  I’ve found (and am still finding) a million reasons to raise a family here, to make a life here. CLE has embraced me at one of the best times in my life and at the worst.

I think the thing to remember – the thing that makes this not just my story – is that we all choose to be here.  None of us are stuck.  We choose, in big and little ways, to make this our home.  For each of us, the true reasons “Why Cleveland?”  are different.

13 Responses

  1. Mark

    Great post! We (my family and I) are moving to CLE in June for the first time. I appreciate your posts and the picture it gives us of our new home. Thank you.

  2. From this post, I’m finding so much in common with today’s TEDxCLE emphasis: finding community through healthy and valid relationships. No matter what got you back here, you have your own personal relationship with this town. In that, you’re developing relationships with all of us doing the same thing. In the end, it’s changing our community for the better. Your presence here – in blog land, and in CLE – is greatly appreciated by many, and we’re lucky you came back!

  3. Sometimes I get caught up in helping people find homes in the city or selling (which is my job) and I forget that posts like this are what keep me here and make me passionate about doing this simple job. Before I started selling townhomes I was” Cleveland City Living.com” which was all about stories like yours. I hope you apply for the City Living Award next month. Cleveland would love to hear more of why you love her.

  4. So glad you came back! It shows how smart you really are 😉

    I left Ohio for a few years after college and was transferred for work to Southern California. Although I absolutely adored the weather and all the activities out there, I ultimately made the choice to move back “home.” When I lived in CA I was always stuck in traffic, dealing with superficial people, and watching all my hard earned cash fly out the window due to the high cost of living. Since I’ve moved back, I have disposable income to travel, enjoy dining out, theatre and concerts, and I wouldn’t give up being close to my family for anything. I never ask WhyCLE – I love living here and feel it has so much to offer.

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