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8 Uncomfortable Truths About Living in Colorado

by Tim Wenger Sep 23, 2016

1. Choosing to live in a beautiful, laid-back place means dealing with the job market of a small town.

I miss living in a mountain town for so many reasons, but the one thing I don’t miss is the constant burden of barely scraping by financially. If the main goal of a life is to work at a restaurant and ‘schralp the gnar’ every day, Summit County is the place to be- but once the ‘adult’ things like families and mortgages loom on the horizon the shoulder seasons become much more stressful.

2. Immense growth and everything it brings with it is going to be a thing.

Back in the nineties, I used to complain about rush hour in Denver. Oh, I wish I could go back and slap teenage me in the face. It seems as though each week one of Denver’s classic bars or shops closes down and five brand new ones open up. Our suburban sprawl goes on, and on, and on. With all the transplants, people are routinely surprised when they find out I’m from here originally, like ‘Wow! I didn’t even know there were people born here still around!’

People aren’t going to stop moving here, so we’re just going to have to keep dealing with it.

3. It seems like every month the rent goes up another 10%.

I know understand what my high school buddy that moved to San Francisco has been talking about. I also see $15 sandwiches all over town these days, and if I feel like being healthy and adding a salad that’s another $3.50. On the plus side, the job market has never been better, but I’m still doubtful that I’d be able to keep living here if I hadn’t bought a condo just in the nick of time – way back in 2014.

4. Getting to other places requires a heck of a drive.

All you East Coasters have it lucky- the next major city is what, two hours away? 45 minutes? Not the case here, especially when I-70 is brought into the equation. It takes two hours just to get to the Eisenhower Tunnel on weekends.

5. The clash between progressive urban lifestyle and the more conservative rural lifestyle is always going to be front and center.

Our state has gone from red to purple to blue over the last 3 presidential election cycles. The rapid growth makes us liberal urban dwellers the vast political majority these days, but out in the plains, there is a whole section of the state that has basically been disenfranchised. When the counties in northeastern Colorado threatened to break off and form a new state after the 2012 election, they weren’t just trying to get attention. It almost happened, and I won’t be surprised if it actually goes through the next time.

6. The media focuses on our stereotypes when they focus on us at all.

Even with the growth, Denver is not New York or LA. Move off the I-25 corridor and the rest of Colorado is small town life. So you better enjoy reading about the coasts and watching movies based there, because Hollywood and major media outlets are going to either keep overlooking us or perpetuating the outdoorsy stoner stereotypes.

7. Our state is not very diverse. And that sucks.

Denver is becoming more of a world class city each year, but Colorado is not the melting pot that coastal places often are. Although it’s not always obvious when you look around here, the entire world isn’t comprised mostly of white, middle-class dog owners that love to camp and ski. Our perspective on global issues and cultures can be rather limited.

8. The financial benefits of legalizing marijuana also bring negative connotations.

The 16th St. Mall looks more like a Phish parking lot than a commercial hub after 5 PM. I constantly hear stories of friends being pulled over for no reason as soon as they cross the state line. And as legit as our law actually is as far as where the tax money goes, there are always those naysayers that just don’t buy into it, and they’re never shy about voicing their opinion.

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