blaring megaphone echo-chamber that is the internet has often called our young generation transient; collectively deciding that we don’t like to stick around too much, particularly if staying put becomes less affordable, flexible, and other hip millennial buzzwords.
There is definitely a lot of truth to this — particularly in this age of rapid gentrification, when you’re either getting forced out, or unceremoniously forcing others out. Not to mention, definitions and the very concept of neighborhoods have certainly changed with the generational tides — our parents grew up on way, our grandparents another, both of which were different than how people are growing up now. But as proven by things like The Hey Arnold! Movie, there are certainly some fundamental aspects and strong feelings for the idea of “neighborhood” that will never wane.
We may not play stickball in the street nowadays, but here are some signs that the place you moved to after college graduation a few years ago is slowly becoming your home:
1. You’ve noticed a Truman Show effect — you keep on running into people that you don’t know, to the point where you now feel like you know them.
2. When a restaurant down the street closes, you get genuinely sad even if you never went there.
3. You’ve gotten familiar — and have grown fond of — particular asphalt cracks, or sidewalk weeds.
4. Re: dry cleaning dudes, grocery store cashiers, etc.: you’ve progressed from the “hey, what’s up” phase, to talking passionately about the weather, to actually having a conversation.
5. You used to hate people who say things like “my barista is my best friend.” You still hate it, but you now understand it.
6. When a new place opens, you don’t so much get excited as you do inwardly say “alright. prove yourself.”
7. When people ask you to recommend bars or restaurants in the area, you treat it as some sort of overly detailed strategic war mission.
8. You’ve spent hours falling down the internet rabbit-hole that is reading about the history of the area where you now live.
9. My local deli > Your local deli.
10. If you need to walk a few blocks to meet someone, you know the precise time you’ll need to walk out the door in order to meet them at the proper time.
Note: Leave a few minutes later than that. No one wants to get there first.
11. You’ve begun thinking about the Ship Of Theseus theory in relation to your neighborhood. Actually, you probably haven’t unless you’re named Theo and studied too much philosophy. But after skimming that Wikipedia page, you definitely will.
12. You think of restaurants and bars in terms of what day it is, and what special they’re offering.
13. You’ve actually read the neighborhood newspaper. Like, in print.
14. You’ve become someone you swore you’d never be, and have taken to social media to express your opinion of a contentious neighborhood issue. 22 likes later, you realize this was a great move.
15. You’ve begun to associate songs from the past few years to various local streets, establishments, apartment occurrences — all of which, reflect a particular sentiment that’s enhanced by your neighborhoody surroundings.
16. When you’ve been gone awhile, you’re taken aback as to how intense the “this is now home” feeling actually is.
17. You’ve lived here way too long to still have no idea who your neighbors are.