If you can call Cleveland the Midwest, then I am from the Midwest. I always thought “The Cleve” felt different than the actual Midwest (where I’m living now) — like some amalgam of the casualness of the mid-States with the constant grumpiness of the East Coast. Pittsburgh wasn’t quite the East Coast and definitely not the Midwest. Cleveland should, for real, be its own region — like Pittsburgh: as they call it, simply, The Rust Belt. But I digress…
So, I’m in what one would actually call the Midwest, and I can honestly feel my mood shift to a different place. Everyone is so freaking nice — which has a LOT to do with it. So, I want to be overly nice, too. And more patient. More relaxed. Seriously, it’s the very form of peace I’ve been searching for, for quite a while. Something that the noise of the city and anxiety of its respective lifestyle overwhelmed and drowned out constantly.
I live in the suburbs now, which is also where I am from. Not this actual metro area, of course, but the suburban home in a suburban neighborhood. Granted, I came from a lower middle class upbringing in the suburbs, but a suburb is a suburb is a suburb. We lived in downtown Cleveland for a year+ before relocating to Pittsburgh, where we lived downtown as well for a year+ before purchasing a house on the north side — one mile from the Golden Triangle. We had a few major and immediate lifestyle changes in moving from an urban neighborhood to a suburb, mainly in adding a second car (and its associated costs) to our household budget and not walking everywhere (though my development is quite walker-friendly!). In fact, I’m so suburban now that we have our first Costco membership. And that suburbia privilege was promptly taken away when we threw out the receipt before exiting with our shopping cart full of things. Luckily, EVERYONE IS SO NICE that we were able to wait for a reprint of our order to leave and not be left inside Costco for eternity.
Patient people are everywhere here. Patient people are nice and friendlier than friendly — and willing to help you with anything. I’ve had people who we’ve met once reach out to connect again and make sure that we have a social circle (and quality drinking time). My neighborhood is also surrounded by farmlands, so this is a very different suburbia than what I was raised in. It must add to the charming character of Iowa. And yes, perhaps I could have found something resembling the cozy, quiet lifestyle in suburbia of Pittsburgh (sans farmland). Here is different. Trust. If you’re from the Midwest, then you just KNOW.
Is it my frame of mind? Is it the actual place? Not sure yet. But my head and heart says that I’m much happier than I’ve been in some time.