K and I differ in a number of pretty significant ways, but we are united on at least one front: Both of us set our sights on things outside the borders of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, determined that grass would be greener on the other side of the state line. I fled to North Carolina where, despite their recent gay-hating legislation, I was supremely happy. Numerous factors sent me home, however, and I spent the next near-decade in the Philadelphia region.
K was determined to get out of Pennsylvania following his graduation from Kutztown University, largely in pursuit of a more liberating, more enoyable career in a place that was more tolerant and a bit more relaxed than Pennsylvania has a reputation for being. He was happy until he got to know his destination: Delaware. I moved to Delaware in pursuit of, well, him. And lower tax rates on my self-owned business. Our misery here has at least been shared.
Pennsylvania, Is it You We’re Looking For?
Neither K nor myself underestimates our value to society, and we can both tend toward the arrogant end of the self-confidence spectrum. We came to Delaware believing that it would help us better ourselves. It did not. We spent the next several months believing that we could at least help to better Delaware. We could not. In the past few weeks, we’ve embraced the idea of moving back to our native Commonwealth for a permanent living arrangement.
It is perhaps true that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, or that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. In our case, Delaware didn’t even have grass. It had mud. And sand. While it saves on effort to have mud in lieu of grass, it does also save on happiness and contentment.
It has been our experience here that the education system is systemically bad. People here are “knowledge poor” in all too many cases. They’re also literally poor, which is not some kind of classist rant against low-income individuals as much as it is an acknowledgement that Delaware is not Pennsylvania’s Connecticut like we initially thought it was. We live in a neighborhood and apartment complex that reminds me of the worst of North Philadelphia — all without the great amenities afforded by that wondrous city.
The Announcement: Our Return May Be Imminent
For the past several weeks, I’ve been helping K locate jobs in his field in Pennsylvania, generally within the city of Philadelphia and the western suburbs. This process will be ongoing until success is achieved and, when it is, we will be moving as quickly as possible.
When we moved out of PA, both of us thought that we were headed not just for good things, but for much better things. In this case, we were both quite mistaken. There are many states that do business better than does Pennsylvania. There are liberal bastions where we’d love to live, and high-paying metropolises that we would love to explore. Practically, though, Pennsylvania is urban, rich, close to our families, and values education and success in ways that Delaware, for us, has not.
We’re doing the unthinkable. We’re admitting that, hey, the Keystone State isn’t so bad after all. Who the hell knew?