Re-Engage with Your City!

This weekend will be our 13th weekend living in Nashville.

We haven't been home all 13 weekends (we've only been home for five of them) and I don't normally go around counting the weekend anniversaries of how long we have lived in a place, I promise, but something about it feels exciting.

Ryan and I spent the bulk of our growing up lives in the same towns. He grew up in Weatherford, Texas. I grew up in Duncanville, Texas. Then, we spent the first ten years of our marriage living in Dallas, Texas. And we love Texas, we love our hometowns and we love the life we created for ourselves as a couple in the city of Cowboys, Mavericks, margarita drinkers and Tex-Mex lovers.

But something about being in the same place for long periods of time stifles your ability to see the place for what it really is.

Somewhere along the way you get into a comfortable routine. You discover your favorite- or most convenient- restaurants. You find a group of friends, a favorite coffee shop, a church, a good local pub, a park that your kiddos dig, and your movie theatre of choice. Season that with a few annual events you attend each year, like the State Fair, a city-wide food festival and some Christmas events and you are set.

Set to get into a rut, that is!

Ryan and I lived in Dallas for so long that we stopped discovering Dallas.

In fact, we spent so much time excited to discover and explore other cities we traveled to, that we became experts on... Seattle. Santa Monica. New York. Chicago. St.Louis. Boston. We fell in love with their food, their art galleries, their beaches, music and eclectic city-wide events. And while I could tell you about some of the unique experiences you could have in Dallas- much of it would be hearsay. Because for the most part, I indulged in unique experiences in other cities and then bemoaned my own as lacking.

Was Dallas lacking? Or was I safe in my bubble of friends, neighbors, church and suburb? Was Dallas lacking or were we just lazy? During our last two years in Dallas we realized... drumroll please... we had simply been lazy and dreadfully unadventerous!

We spent our last year in Dallas going to these amazing events and places with Annie and then looking at each other saying, "What the heck have we been doing the past 8 years?!? This place is awesome!"

When we grow accustomed to 'our side of the city' and rely on our 'tested and proven favorites' we lose our sense of adventure and miss out on the amazing things our cities have to offer. (Oh, this is so Benjamin Franklin of me. Promoting the shared sense of community and civic goodness of local city events. He would be so proud. And I am officially a Ben Franklin dork and creepster.)

So when we moved to Nashville, we decided we would not make the same mistake again. And we are learning that the most exciting part of starting-from-scratch is the possibility of discovery and adventure. We are embracing everything this city has to offer- or at least giving it a fair shot!

As such- we find ourselves looking forward to each weekend wondering what we will discover. We won't always spend every single weekend going and doing (that would leave us exhausted and broke) but at least during this season, we are exploring our way through this city and enjoying every second of it. Last weekend was the zoo- with the most incredible children's playground I have ever seen. A rooftop restaurant for our anniversary. The free East Nashville Tomato Art Festival and a free city-wide, big band dance at the park! It was the most delightful event, with the most eclectic hodge-podge group of people ever. Over a thousand people dancing under paper lanterns and stars? For free?

It's funny. I meet people who have moved here or have lived here their entire adult lives and I get so excited to talk to them about the amazing things this city has to offer and the usual response is, "Oh- I've heard that is amazing." And I get it. I get living in the same place for a long time and forgetting what's right in front of your nose. I get being in a rut. I spent a long time there.

But I just want to shake them and say, "Go explore your city!"

So now that I have poured out all my city-love dorkiness, I ask you, what are your plans this weekend? Are you trying anything new? Why not! As in, why not try something you've "always heard is great." Go hike that trail, try that restaurant, visit the city library or eat the world-famous cinnamon rolls made by the old ladies that you've always heard about in your small downtown. Take your kids to a different park, shop in a different grocery store. Get on a subway line going the opposite direction of normal! Re-engage with your city! Take an adventure!

and if you do...

Leave a comment and let me know what you discovered!