Recently people have been asking me what it’s like living in Colorado after some 40 years in northern New Jersey. Well, in a word…different.
And though it’s only been a month since my arrival, I’ve created a list of some of those noticeable differences and thought you’d all find them interesting and amusing. Here goes!
- New Jersey residents will do just about anything to avoid exchanging pleasantries with others roaming the planet – some include pretending to talk on their cell phones, staring down at their feet or hiding behind dark glasses. But here in Colorado, people just seem nicer – more neighborly. Everyone greets you with a smile and a “hello” as they pass you by. It’s nice not to be ignored for a change – what a concept!
- The first thing you notice almost immediately in Colorado is all the open spaces. In New Jersey, if there’s an open space to be had some opportunistic developer is building on it – adding to problematic traffic jams and congestion. But here there are more open spaces than anything else. You don’t have to go far to find acres of grassy fields overlooking the mountains and even farms, yes farms, with horses and cattle! Admittedly that takes a little getting used to.
- The Tri-State area (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut) is chaotic. Everyone is always rushing around at warp speeds, which explains why everyone is so stressed and anxious all the time and in no mood to greet you on the street (see #1). But here everything is much slower, much more relaxed. People seem to take the time to enjoy life rather than rush on through it.
- On any given day, during any given hour – regardless of the season, retail stores in New Jersey are often overcrowded mob scenes. Parking lots are always jammed with impatient (and often rude) drivers waiting for that space at the front of the store. Is it any wonder New Jersey residents have trouble with #3? But around here stores are rarely crowded and parking lots afford you your choice of prime spaces. I recently stopped at a Pier 1 store having a major summer clearance sale and if there was one person inside that was a lot.
- I grew up in Lyndhurst, NJ – a township where both residential and retail/commercial properties were interspersed throughout. Not in Colorado. Housing communities are commonplace here and that’s all you’ll find in them – housing. There’s no corner stores or delis, no coffee shops, no grocery stores. Nothing but homes, trees and walking paths make up the communities that people call home. But have no fear, a quick ten minute drive in the car places you in retail hubs where you’ll be able to find everything and anything your heart desires.
- But not everything is so rosy here in Colorado. For starters you’d be hard pressed to find a decent loaf of crusty Italian bread. While they might look the part sitting in large baskets in the bakery aisle, looks are very deceiving and disappointing. I’m Italian and grew up thinking that bread was like another eating utensil. Can you imagine my horror? And what about pizza and bagels? I can’t even discuss it. I hope there’s a support group for people like me.
- And what about cost you might ask? Well on the plus side housing prices, property taxes and car insurance are drastically lower than New Jersey (thank you!). But to register your car is triple what you’d pay in New Jersey, food is just as expensive (if not more) and gas prices are definitely higher. Go figure.
- Speaking of gas, you have to pump your own here. New Jersey treated you to full service at the pumps – to my wife’s delight. However now I’ve become the full service gas pumper in our family. No big deal, I worked at my father’s gas station for years so I’m okay with that.
In truth there are NO perfect places to live in this world. There will always be something that’s inconvenient, costly, illogical or stressful. That’s life folks! And while I might need to have some of my baked goods shipped in from another state, I’m still enjoying getting to know my new state and all the differences it has to offer.