I Love Westchester County

Westchester County Will Forever Hold A Place In My Heart, NYC Isn't The Cool Place In New York

Through tears, laughter, heartbreak, and more, you always made me feel safe and secure.

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Westchester County was my first home, and up until moving into college, it was the only place I ever resided. I grew up going to the same school district from kindergarten through high school and seldom traveled more than an hour or two away. Westchester was all I really knew, and I know it very well having lived here for over 18 years.

I'll admit it: as a child, I wasn't so sure I loved Westchester. I dreamed of moving to places with a warmer climate like Miami or Las Angeles where all of the celebrities are. Westchester seemed too boring and I didn't like the idea that many people had no idea where it was; I'd always have to tell them "it's like half an hour from the city."

It wasn't until I moved to college and began feeling immense homesickness that I grew such a strong appreciation for my county. Although I only go to college about an hour and a half away from home, the two counties felt like two completely different worlds, from the physical appearance to the food.

Hearing stories at school about where people from all over New York and even out of state grew up always amazes me because of the many differences. Although there are a lot of similarities about our upbringings such as the television shows we watched or the games we played, so many things about our young lives contrast. Even people from just a few counties away from me had such a different childhood and teenage experience than I had simply because of where we lived.

When I listen to my friends speaking about their hometowns, they all seem really nice, yet I still can't help thinking that I'm really glad I grew up where I did. I learn to further appreciate the freedom we had in our high school, the size of my town, the people that live here, and so much more. At this point in my life, I feel so much pride in my county that I can't wait for friends from school to come see my lifestyle here.

Even if I didn't believe it much as a child, there are so many incredible aspects of Westchester that make it stand out from other counties. We get enough snow that I've got to experience snow days and building snow men as a kid, without having to obtain two feet of snow. Westchester has so many incredible restaurants in very diverse styles. Like every other county, there are people that aren't the nicest, but for the most part, people here are very kind. A lot of Westchester has an incredibly beautiful landscape. There are actually a wide variety of activities to do within a small radius. I could go on for hours about everything that makes Westchester special.

I've learned that even if Westchester isn't the most well-known or spoken about county, I actually appreciate those characteristics. In no way do I live in the middle of nowhere, yet I also don't live in a chaotic or hectic town. Westchester is very "normal," and I'm more than okay with that. I now believe that places like Miami or L.A. are fun destinations to vacation, but a place like Westchester is much better to live in.

Living in Westchester County for almost two decades has provided me so much to be grateful for. I was able to attend a very respected public school district, always felt safe walking around town, and I've met so many great people. I feel as though Weschester has shaped me into a respected and kind person that I can be proud of.

I'm pleased to say that when I grow older and have children, I'll be overjoyed to bring them to Westchester to see where mommy lived and I hope that they love it and all its beauty as much as I do. I'm not sure what the future holds for me in terms of where I'll settle down and start a family. Although I'd recommend living in Westchester to anyone searching for a home, I know it's very possible that I may stray and no longer call this place home. Yet no matter where I end up, Wetchester will always hold a special place in my heart.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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Why You Should Bring Your Close Friend As Your Formal Date

Before asking that cute girl to formal think about asking a friend

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Every year since I was a junior in high school I have always looked forward to homecoming or prom. When I got to college I began to look forward to my fraternity formal. I was never concerned with what to wear or the expense of formal but rather who I was going to ask. It can be difficult to make a decision. If you ask anyone friends with me they will tell you how I am one of the most indecisive people out there. There are so many people I am friendly with or have a close relationship that it can feel difficult to make a decision. But let's look at that phrase again. You might think why does he want to bring someone who is his friend to his fraternity formal rather than someone he likes or is dating. To answer this question, some of the girls I have liked I have not been able to be the true me around and that also applies to the girls I have dated as well. I am different around my friends and I want someone to know the real me rather than me just having to pretend.

Maybe I am still experiencing the effects of a fun weekend but I have noticed that every formal or prom that I have brought a date with not only was a fun formal but interacted and connected well with my friends. That is the main thing I look for in a formal date, they need to be liked by my friends and many of them are still pretty friendly after the formal. You are spending the weekend with them and the drive down for you formal. There will be a lot of time spent with your date so it is important to bring someone you know you will have fun with. I am not saying that there isn't anything wrong with bringing someone else but I always found it best to bring a friend if you are not dating someone.

Think about the people you know you will always have fun with. This can be an indication of who you should bring and why but you should also think about the positives in this situation. Your fun and the time spent with the people should be prioritized before anything else. This event is about you and you should have someone with you that you know is fun to be around and someone you can enjoy yourself around along with your friends. Friends know you as well as you know yourself so there is not an idea of having to pretend to be someone else. The good thing about friends is that you do not run out of things to talk about and there is always something new to learn. Take your formal as a trip that you get to experience with the people closest to you. That is my take.

The key for me is to know that I will have fun with my date at formal. The drive to formal can be long and you are sharing a hotel room with your date along with spending time with them during the trip. I talk a lot. I want someone I know who I can carry a conversation with and will not just respond with words such as Yeah or Sounds good. I have always been able to remember not only my formals but specific parts of it as well. I think this is possible because of who I have brought and the memories I made with them.

Formals are important to everyone so think about who you want to spend that moment with. There is nothing wrong with bringing someone who you like but there also is nothing wrong with bringing a friend. Some people might bring someone they are dating but you should not have to compare yourself to other people. Do what makes you happy but remember this weekend is about you and you deserve to bring someone you will have fun with.

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