I called my grandmother the other day to catch up and when I told her about what I was up to in Charlotte, she said, “It sounds like Charlotte is a cool place to be at your age.”
For the longest time, this could not have been further from the truth, but now I get it.
And there’s nowhere else I’d rather be a twenty-something right now.
(1) Everybody knows everybody else.
This seems like an exaggeration and I definitely didn’t believe it when I first started making friends, but it turns out that for being a big city, Charlotte’s really small and the six degrees of separation theory is absolutely at play here.
That being said, I’m not sure how it works, but the best explanation that I can find is that a lot of people either a) come home and reconnect with high school friends or b) move here straight out of college with a college friend who already has ties in the area.
And if they don’t know each other, they’ve definitely been in the same place at the same time – and probably two barstools down from each other.
Is it a bad thing? It could be, but for the most part, it makes a social life easy.
(2) And if they don’t, it’s easy to connect them.
People want to know other people. They want to hang out with people. They want to have fun with people.
It’s as easy as this (because I’ve done it before): leave a concert, practically invite you and Friend A over to Friends B and C’s apartment – whom Friend A has never met – go on vacation and come back to find that they’ve continued talking and have hung out while you were gone.
It’s strange and will throw you off for a second, but see how easy it is? And now you’re stuck with a real group of friends to hang out with on the weekends.
(3) There’s always something to do.
Banana suit bar crawls, getting sporty at the Whitewater Center, shows at spots like The Fillmore Charlotte or The Evening Muse… if you can’t find something to do, that’s on you.
You don’t have to be bored here. And that’s a big deal.
(4) Charlotte doesn’t really know who it is, either.
While traveling, somebody asked me if I could sum up who Charlotte is as a city in three words.
I couldn’t. The closest I could get was “Breweries, neighborhoods and breweries. Oh, apartments, too.”
That’s not to say that I don’t think that Charlotte is more than that, because it absolutely, 110%, without a doubt is.
But that’s how it feels.
I think it’s trying to grow (and see the evidence) and figure out where it’s going, what it’s going to do when it gets there and what it’ll be known for when it is there, but it’s just not all the way there yet.
Guess who else isn’t all the way there yet? Most, if not all, of the just-out-of-school or this-is-my-first-real-job generation that’s coming to the city and filling up the breweries, neighborhoods and apartments.
It’s cool to feel like you’re growing right along with the city.
And that makes Charlotte a really cool place to be.