Atlanta is the Place for Me

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Photo courtesy of Atlanta.net

Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail

Coco Bradford, Staff Writer

In elementary school, I always dreamed of living in some fancy, faraway city of glamor. I thought I would move to New York City or Paris or London. I wanted to be smack in the middle of millions of people, with millions of sounds and smells and things to look at. As I’ve grown up a bit, I’ve realized that millions of people can be overwhelming, and a cityscape, though gorgeous, can feel isolating and harsh.

The past couple of years have urged me to live somewhere that I could explore, somewhere with nature at every turn and an overall calm feeling. I visited some small towns in Idaho, and I wanted to stay. I wanted to become one of the familiar faces in a town, part of the fabric of those people’s lives. Maturing forward from that, I knew that I would want to have more unfamiliar faces and unfamiliar experiences around me than that though. I wanted to have access to those millions-of-people places, and I wanted to learn about a ton of different types of people still.

One more thing that I didn’t want to miss out on was being near my family and in a place I was comfortable. I didn’t want to be too far from the people I rely on, or too far from where I had grown into the person I would be.

All of this to say, I want to live in Atlanta when I am older. Whenever people ask me, I am so sure that Atlanta will be my home.

First, I knew that I had to keep the busyness and motion of a big city. I wanted to be somewhere with people everywhere. Atlanta, with its metro population of 4.6 million, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission, has plenty of people to meet. Also, the diversity that I have experienced at Chamblee has really helped me realize that that is what I want when I grow up: to be surrounded by a variety of people from different walks of life and with different perspectives. I know Atlanta holds this variety because I have been around the city. I have seen my neighborhood of mostly upper middle-class white liberals, but I have also seen the richest of the rich and a varying scale of people less fortunate than I. And I know there are so many more people in Atlanta to meet! There are so many niches in the city that I have yet to explore, and I want to get to know them all. Atlanta provides me with the opportunity to continually meet new people; it is big enough that I will never run out of people to meet.

Second, I do still want to have access to a quieter life, a life further from all the people I don’t know. I live in the suburbs, so I have easy access to the real city, and easy access to so many amazing places outside of it. There are so many parks and trails so close to my house, and they provide serenity so close to where I live. Our immediate area has so many stunning blooms in the spring and such an amazing autumn landscape. Additionally, if I drive a bit further out, I can experience new paths and natural spots that amaze me each time. I can drive just a touch farther than that and be in the country, surrounded by farmland and peace that is unmatched. And still, in these areas, there are river trails to be walked and “mountains” to climb. I cannot express how much I adore Atlanta’s location. There is access to a few types of ecosystems: we are all aware of the hilly green forest we live in, but it is only about five hours to Georgia’s barrier islands and two hours to the Blue Ridge Mountains. We also have almost the best weather, outside of the pollen and a few extra-hot days.

My family will be in Atlanta when I return, including my sister, who I could not live without. Also, Atlanta will forever be special to me because of all I have experienced here. I love the city because I love what it offers: one of the best civil rights museums I have ever visited, my local produce store, David’s, that keeps its charm, a perfectly bikeable midtown, the Chattahoochee and all of its access points, Mason Mill Park that I grew up playing at, a one-of-a-kind Center for Puppetry Arts, my grandparents’ house that I had so many Christmases at, and the ever reliable Stone Mountain. This city holds so much for me, and I cannot imagine what else I will find when I stay and explore even more.

Even without the nostalgia I have for the city, it still has remarkable things to offer. I think it is the best city for the life I want. It has suburbia as well as hustle and bustle, and it has stunning weather and perfect access to the rest of Georgia and the Southeast. There is no better place.