When I was growing up, I was guilty of romanticizing cities. I thought New York City was just like a Friends episode, movie stars were on every corner of Los Angeles, everyone in Dallas was as rich as the Ewings, and Tuscaloosa was the big rock candy mountain. (OK, Tuscaloosa sort of is the big rock candy mountain for college students.)
It only took a few years of growing up (and one long summer of living in Atlanta) to realize that all cities have their good and bad points. In a lot of ways, they’re all a lot alike. Traffic, politics, weather, people. Awesome days, not so awesome days.
When we moved to Fort Worth in 2007 for my husband to go to school, we still considered ourselves newlyweds. I was excited for our adventure but hadn’t really thought much about Cowtown itself. We had seen Logan’s Run and the scene in the Water Gardens. We wanted to try Texas barbecue and walk around downtown. Other than that, we honestly had kind of low expectations when we moved here.
Fast forward almost nine years and two and a half degrees, and we have seriously fallen for Fort Worth.
Sure, it has its not-so-great points (I’m looking at you, summer), but there is so much awesome in this city that we discovered that we wanted to stay put even when we were done with school.
Because the mindset for going somewhere for school is pretty temporary, right?
When I went to college (two long hours away from my family), I still kept everything at “home”–my dentist, hairdresser, insurance. I didn’t really relocate, which is understandable when you have to pack up and move home every Christmas and summer break.
But we did the same thing when we came out here too. It took us awhile to get in the mindset of really moving to Fort Worth. We still had our Alabama licenses, went home as many holidays as we could, and rented an apartment on a six-month lease. We were here for a degree, and it felt temporary.
Things slowly started to change for us, though, after we got that degree.
My husband stayed on to pursue a PhD, and I decided to do the same. That meant we were looking at a five-year commitment (at least!), so it made sense to buy a house, which was easier to do because I had gotten a promotion to a more permanent position at work.
We had our babies and wanted to start our own holiday traditions with them, which didn’t always include a scream-filled 12-hour car ride.
Mostly, though, we looked around one day and said, “We really love Fort Worth. What if we just plan to stay?”
So we did. And we are.
We live here now. Even though Alabama will always be where we’re from, Fort Worth is home.
It might not be forever. We’re always open to God’s direction, which could include a move again at some point.
But choosing to stay in this place has changed our mindset. It means even more to us now than when we were just here for a couple of years.
We want to pour back into the community and invest in the city. We want it to be a better place because we chose to stay here and raise our daughters here.
We want to make it home.