5 Things I Like About East Tennessee

 Today's view from our dining room

Today's view from our dining room

With recent elections behind us, it's easy to feel discouraged being a rather liberal person living in a rather conservative state. However, it's also important to reinforce positives.

So I've compiled a short list of things I appreciate about TN.

This is a selfish exercise to practice a habit of appreciation, not a passive aggressive judgement on any fellow liberal-ish leaning fellow Tennessee residents who still feel the sting of local politics and are still in understandably bad mood.

1. The Weather is Wonderful

Especially the fall colors. Having four distinguishable seasons without enormous amount of snow to shovel every year is simply awesome. The huge snow forts I built as a kid growing up in New Jersey were fun, but long winters were... long. I'm quite happy for snow be a rare special event instead of a constant winter to-do list. Also, if you're ever watching one of the various Discovery channel shows that talk about future-world-destroying disaster scenarios while graphically representing it by a globe, you should note that neither the extreme examples of climate change floods or glaciers quite make it to east Tennessee.

2. Low property Taxes

We may not have curbside recycling in every part of our city limits (yet) but we also have incredibly low property taxes. We paid less than $700 in taxes last year for our home. That includes City and County property tax. Also, I noticed a less talked about constitutional amendment clarified another part of the Tennessee constitution this election season. It was the part about how there's no state income tax.

3. Friendly People

Fellow residents of this great state are generally friendly, courteous people. Sure, playing chess in the local park may get you taunted by a random good ol' boy driving down highway 27. But on more than one occasion, while driving, I've watched a line of complete strangers gracefully wait for the car in front of them to realize the light we're all stopped at is green. Not a single honk. I've also had people I've never met offer to let me check-out first in the grocery store.

4. Little to No Fashion Pressure

If you need to make a quick trip to the store and you've just gotten out of bed. Chances are you won't have to contend with judgemental looks from strangers at your bed-head. I've seen people visiting from other states mock rural residents for their appearance. I've worked retail and I know the range of smells and appearances that can frequent a store. But you know what? I'd much rather have the freedom to keep up with latest trends... or not... and feel equally "acceptable" in public. Especially since I still own clothes from the 90's.

5. Family and Friends

I met my wife in this state. My wonderful in-laws live in this state. I have made great, lasting friendships in this state. Tennessee isn't a monolithic entity that we must choose to either love or hate. It is filled with many different kinds of people from all walks of life and I've spent a significant portion of my life here now. And you know what? I really like it.