Should You Blame Your Problems On Your Location?

When you’ve lived in the same city your entire life, it’s often hard to give that place credit. Sometimes it feels like you’ve seen all there is to see, and done everything there is to do. You may feel like the place is too small/boring/other negative adjectives. I’ve experienced this with my city, and I know this is heightened by the fact that most of my friends have moved away by now, so the packs of ten and 20 that we used to go out with have now dwindled down to Chris, me, and a small handful of friends. Sometimes it feels like we’re the only people in our twenties living in this entire place. Also, the fact that it snows for nine months out of the year probably isn’t helpful. It’s just harder to appreciate a place when you can’t feel your fingers or toes.

For a while I would spend quite a lot of time focusing on every negative point there is to focus on about my city. But I recently read this piece from Thought Catalog called “Why I’m Leaving New York.” In the article, the author talks about how he used to blame his problems on New York City, and then realized this wasn’t fair. That got me thinking. In some ways I’m too hard on my town. I get caught up in romanticizing bigger, unfamiliar places, and forget that there are certain perks to where I live. These include:

  • My family is here
  • I can live cheaply
  • It’s not as cutthroat as big cities, so it’s easy to stay motivated about pursuing your goals
  • I have long-lasting connections here, from my hairstylist who’s cut my hair since I was six, to my English teacher who taught me when I was 15.

It’s easy to just assume a new city would make life perfect. I sometimes think that if I moved to Boston (I’ve always liked it there) or Chicago (my dream city) or Charlotte (where my company is based) then I would have hundreds of friends, and there’d be new things to see, and life would be ideal. It’s hard to imagine that other cities could ever present disadvantages. In reality, any city has its own unique set of pluses and minuses. There is no such thing as a perfect place. I’ve realized it’s not fair to blame any and every issue on the place you live. Yes, there are certain disadvantages to my city. These include:

  • Horrible (I mean truly terrible) weather
  • Not a lot of opportunities for twenty-somethings (it’s more about families)
  • I’ve lived here my whole life
  • Did I mention the atrocious weather?

But overall, a lot of these issues will present themselves in any place.

While I think it’s smart to strive to live in a place that makes you happy (at least most of the time) and inspired, I also think it’s important to try to make the most of where you live, regardless of how long you’ve lived there or why you’re there. Spending every second hating your city is tiring, and detracts from other, positive parts of your life. If you hate the traffic in LA or the competitive nature of New York City, focus on other aspects, though it’s okay to also spend some time trying to figure out where you might feel more satisfied.

Do you ever have bad feelings about where you live? How do you deal with it? 


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  1. Being from a small town upstate as well, I can completely relate. I think no matter where we live/move to, there will always be positives and negatives.

    • ljmlevine says:

      Completely! Yes, you can definitely relate! It’s so easy to think about all of the positives that big cities offer, with none of the negatives. Though there are definitely lots of perks to living in a big city (stuff to do, etc.) there are also some really bad parts (insane rent).

  2. Lauren I DEFINITELY know what you mean.

    It sucks that I don’t find the time to stop by here, say whatup and leave a comment, because we obviously emotionally are going through the same things haha.

    “For a while I would spend quite a lot of time focusing on every negative point there is to focus on about my city.”

    Yeah, I did that for about a year until I got so depressed I realized I had to stop doing it. I was formerly never an unhappy person — I took the ups and downs of life well – but as soon as I moved back home after living abroad, I started hating my childhood town. It was weird.

    Objectively it’s not bad – it’s in a beautiful area on the water, it’s also 40 mins via train to NYC so if I want the big city i’ve got it, but like you said I found basically every reason possible just to bitch and moan about it.

    But yeah, NYC is not that special to me because I was born there. Living in the suburbs now blows because I just was living in Beijing – basically a NYC in Asia, except where you pay $300 for an apartment downtown.

    Like you said I really wonder if this is just a grass is greener thing going on. Like I firmly intend to move to Paris next summer. Why? For shits and giggles. I speak French (and would like to get it fluent – my grandma/dad speak it), love europe, have lived over there before, and my girlfriend wants to live abroad too. Why not?

    But at the same time I wonder just about every day if I’m making a huge error in thinking about all these other places to move to, instead of investing in one place.

    In other words, my gut says I’m not meant to be here – should I go? Or is it just me emotionally craving something new?

    Stuff I haven’t figured out yet —


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