It’s 32 degrees today, but a week ago it was -32 with the wind chill, so it seems odd I would think that the Midwest is the best place to live. But after moving away to sunny Arizona for 3 years, then choosing to return to Iowa to raise our family, I can now say that the Midwest is truly the best.
If you think about what the Midwest has to offer, you may overlook things and take many traits for granted, like I did. Sometimes, it’s when you no longer have something, you realize just how good you had it. The Midwest is like that.
The Midwest Mentality
This is one of the main reasons we left Arizona and returned home to Iowa to raise our girls: The Midwest mentality. When you live somewhere your entire life, you may not realize what a gem it is. It’s easy to get stir crazy, think there is something better out there, and envy those laying in the sun on Christmas Day.
However, there is more to life than the weather, I promise you. The weather doesn’t treat you with honesty and respect. The weather doesn’t have concern for you and your family or have a sense of humbleness, choosing to do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do.
In my experience, the weather is really the smallest factor when choosing a place to live and raise your family. I wouldn’t have agreed with that statement in 2019, as you may not agree with me now, but moving away from the Midwest, purely for the weather, changed my perspective for life.
The Midwest mentality is something I took for granted and the 3 years I didn’t have it… I craved it all the time. Midwesterners are so honest…sometimes a little too honest, but I’d rather have that than smoke and mirrors. Midwesterners truly care for others and their wellbeing and regardless if it’s popular or not, Midwesterners are known for doing the right thing.
The Midwest Mentality cares about modesty and I don’t mean clothing modesty, although that may fit here as well. Midwesterners are modest about who one is. They truly listen when someone else is talking, even if they disagree.
Midwest livelihoods are based on hard work and many times, a person’s identity is tied to the work they do. Even in their hobbies, Midwesterners take great pride in them, but would never share their successes unless first asked.
The Midwest Culture
Three words can sum up what people in the Midwest like to do: Food, Fun, Music. We love to eat good comfort food, laugh and create memories as well as have the music blaring whenever possible.
Even more than having a good time, the Midwest offers a stress free lifestyle, compared to other areas in the country. It’s a slower, relaxed pace of life that is hard to compete with. Neighbors are friendly, people are down to earth, and family life is valued.
Midwesterners work hard to see deliberate growth. They don’t expect someone to do the work for them. Growth comes from hard work and the time and attention placed into that is intentional.
The Midwest Seasons
Spring, summer, fall and winter, oh how I missed you! I never realized how important the seasonal changes were to me, until I woke up one day in Arizona and realized it was truly groundhogs day, every day.
It was hot, the sun was shining. There was dirt and dust everywhere. The cactus? Well, looked the same all day every day, regardless of the time of season (however, we did get some blooms on the cactus in spring).
I am sure you have heard of “Island Fever,” and this is the same concept, except for the desert. I lost track of time. My mind couldn’t tell one season or holiday from the next and it became too much for me…desert fever.
The trees of the Midwest. The green grass. The streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. The snow in the winter. The color of leaves changing in the fall, signaling a new season. The humidity, even though my hair doesn’t appreciate, my mind and body does. The gentle rains of spring, that create new life to bloom.
Emotional stability came from these seasons and I had no idea until it was gone. Seasonal changes signal new stages of the year and gives you an idea of what’s to come. It helps your mind and your heart prepare, look forward and reminisce. It’s truly a remarkable experience.
I used to think the snow would be the end of fun, make me angry and withdrawn or even depressed. Maybe for some it does, but for me, my perspective has changed. The seasons in the Midwest make it home for me.
The Fly over State
Iowa, specifically, falls into “The fly over state” term, meaning there’s nothing of interest here. I’ve experienced that this couldn’t be any further from the truth. If you’re looking for honest, authentic, hard working, give you the shirt off their back kind of people, then you’re in the right place.
Disclaimer: The Midwest is not for everyone, just as the SW was not for our family. The concept of the Midwest Mentality is found in other areas of the country, I am sure, but this blog only entails concepts from my experience living in both areas and why we chose to move our family back to Iowa.
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