Why I Choose to Stay in Northeast Indiana

December 7th, 2016

Regional Partnership Team Member Shares Personal Journey to Remain in Northest Indiana

By Liz Boren

Growing up as a young teenager in Huntington, I remember having grandiose dreams of eventually leaving my hometown and trekking off to live in some big city like New York or Chicago. Surely there would be more opportunity and excitement than here in the Midwest, right?

Fast forward slightly to my senior year of high school when I was faced with the BIG decision of where to go to college. This was my first chance to leave small town life behind! However, being that it was a big decision I had to weigh all my options. I am one of six kids and that meant I grew up in a household that had to be very money conscious. Accumulating a mountain of student loan debt was scarier to me that deciding to stay local for college. Besides, I would still have other opportunities after graduation, right? So I confidently chose to study at IPFW.     

Fast forward again to when I was faced with the BIG decision of what to do after college graduation. Grad school? Workforce? Blogging? Just kidding…well, sort of. I applied and got accepted into a graduate program in Alabama—finally my opportunity had come, right? However, I still had some student loans to pay off, as did my soon-to-be husband who is also a frugal Midwesterner, so we collectively decided to tackle our student loan debt before considering other options. 

Then we bought a modest house in a historic neighborhood in Fort Wayne and made it our goal to live and play in Northeast Indiana while working to become debt free.

Fast forward to today when I am faced with making decisions like where to get groceries, what restaurant to try on date night, and the big one—whether or not to stay in Fort Wayne and the Midwest. 

My husband and I enjoy travelling almost more than anything else and we have fantasized about packing up and heading out to one of the places we’ve visited. However, there always seems to be a reason why these places don’t fit us. Just like my college and post-college decisions, moving to a completely different state is a BIG decision and as self-proclaimed, practical Midwesterners we have to weigh all the options…and weighing options takes time, right? 

So in the meantime we figured it wouldn’t hurt to enjoy ourselves in our current hometown…and taking time has allowed us to take note of what our hometown now has to offer. For example, when we’ve had the pleasure of deciding where to go on aforementioned date night, we have a dilemma—albeit a good dilemma. Do we go to one of our tried and true staples like Mad Anthony Brewing Company or the Green Frog Inn? Or do we go to one of the new hot spots in town like Trubble Brewing or Junk Ditch Brewing Company? The same thing happens when my sisters and I decide to catch up over coffee—the Friendly Fox, Fortezza or Conjure Coffee

The time we’ve taken to reflect on all our options has translated into our learning about and enjoying the city we live in. In fact, the longer we stay here the less we can see ourselves living in the places we’ve visited.   

I find that my grandiose dream of trekking off to live somewhere else is sufficed through the precious time I get to travel with my husband. And our day-to-day lives are so much richer because we are able to live in Northeast Indiana, within our means and work towards our debt free goal, while still enjoying ourselves in a place that has all the benefits of a big city but still retains the small town feel.         

So I’ve never left, at least not really…and I’ve never been happier. I mean, who wouldn’t love to live in a place where the downtown smells like bread, right?

Categories & Tags Quality of Life