Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Depressed in Cleveland

I've stated it before and I'll state it again, I love my hometown of Cleveland. With that I write this post with great sorrow, the city is in dire straits.

I visited last weekend for my brother's birthday celebration. Now some of my feelings are shaded by personal relationships, which I'll get to as well, but from a city standpoint, driving around the area where I lived and some other areas of town depressed me as well.

What I found in my neighborhood was more houses on the market, many appeared to be due to foreclosures. What was striking about this was many would have been the neighbors you least expected it from. Add those to the already bloated numbers of homes in the suburb where we lived that are on the market and you begin to wonder about how long this 'recovery' of the housing market is going to take. Driving around it didn't get any better as I drove by businesses that had shuttered up, nothing surprising, a Quiznos that served badly prepared food, a Blockbuster, who's parent company is in shambles, and a restaurant that was located at an ill advised location. While not surprising, it still was a bit depressing, as all of those businesses are within a mile of the house, I wondered how many I didn't notice as I was driving or how many were closing in areas further away.

After being in Columbus for a number of months, I have to say my mood around our nation's economy is much different then it was during my last year in Cleveland, while there are still struggles in the area, businesses seem to be fairly solvent including a fairly large amount of small businesses in the area, it's refreshing and encouraging. This last weekend really brought the differences to my attention.

Having said all that, I need to share some personal slant that I'm sure affected my views of the area around me. After a couple months of getting on track with the new income, adjusting to day care costs, additional living expenses, and finally being further away from the move costs, our economic outlook in this house is pretty good, even considering we are still paying on our mortgage of our Cleveland house. It's a fairly bright future even if the house in Cleveland doesn't move anytime soon and I'm sure this association makes me look at Columbus a bit differently.

Seeing friends that are in difficult spots financially and emotionally due to relationships definitely flavored my views. It's rough to watch those close to you struggle with those kinds of difficult situations, especially when they balloon from rough spots to critical spots and there is only so much advice you can give them or assistance. I've mentioned before I have a couple friends who are either going through or are recently divorced and the toll it's taking is alarming to me when I see or talk to them, add in a number of friends that seem to be what I would consider scraping by (i.e. maintaining today, but with no real outlook to the future) and I begin to wonder how some of these relationships are going to be in 10 years as we close in on 50, as my world and theirs maybe two incredibly different things? It's scary to think about and not something I've gave much more then casual thought to over the previous years, maybe its the fact that I've always sort of ignored the differences in jobs or education that developed over time and the move to Columbus has only gone and shed more light on it. It's something I'm going to have to think about more.

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