Normally I don’t post links to ‘best of’ lists, because everyone else in town does and honestly, how many times do you need to see the same story?? But this one in particular caught my eye. Among all the accolades Charleston receives, and all the Top 10 Best lists we land on – most friendly, best city in the world, best looking, most drunk (yes, that is real) – none is as true as this one – Charleston is the #1 Best Small City for Starting Over.
That title caught me because that is exactly what I did – I quit my six figure New York City job to come here and start over because I was DONE and ready for brand new. But here’s what’s so odd. I know countless people – acquaintances, friends, clients, family – who all did the exact same thing.
So why Charleston? What is it that draws people here to start anew? The company that created this Top 10 list, CreditDonkey, says it’s because Charleston is charming and well-rounded, has low unemployment and high income growth, among other things…True. All of it.
But here are the real reasons – ones that you can’t put on a chart or prove with a statistic.
There’s just something about this Lowcountry that offers up her big mamma arms to embrace you, to fold you into a safe and inspiring place that feels really, really good.
Her languorous pace gives you the space to be still with yourself while her a-liveliness ignites you. She heals you. She gives you the wings to be better than you ever imagined.
It’s not that your life is perfect or that nothing bad ever happens to you once you move here. It’s just that when you wander through this human-scaled city you see homes and lives that have survived and thrived more than 300 years – in the face of wars and earthquakes, hurricanes and fires, slavery and poverty. And you know what? You gain a little perspective.
And when you wake up to a sunrise over the harbor, or squish the sand in your toes while you listen to the ocean’s lullaby, or come face-to-face with a dolphin as he skims alongside your boat, or draw in the scent of pluff mud by a cracklin’ hot bonfire on a river in a blue-skied November, you just know it’s all gonna be fine. Really.
So if you are out there considering a brand new start, for whatever reason, in whatever stage of life you might be, come on down and join the rest of us survivors and thrivers. Mamma Lowcountry’s arms are big enough for you too.