Why I’m Happy Living in the Swing State of Florida

I do not affiliate with any political party. The closest I’ve personally been to politics was when I sought a position as Student Government Association Senate at Florida State University; I ran without the help of either two predominate campus parties. But the biggest thing I notice is whenever there is a massive election or news story about my home state of Florida, the former residents shame it. They are at times embarrassed of the state’s votes or actions. While I respect everyone’s opinion, I feel it’s unwarranted.

I sometimes wonder why people move to cities like Los Angeles and New York. In the 2016 election, I noticed something. One of the reasons I think the nation may feel divided is because of certain concentrated areas of the United States with similar-thinking people of the progressive mindset, like LA and NYC. Communities of like-minded people are fantastic, however, why not spread outside of the major cities?

Upon graduating from Florida State’s Film School, I migrated to Los Angeles. That’s what the entertainment industry and colleges expect and encourages you to do.  But in reality not everybody is a right match for the city nor do they all need to live there to be successful.

I moved back home to Chicago for a couple of years while getting situated after my Los Angeles attempt. I found that residing in Chicago was great, but it wasn’t for me and ended up moving back to Florida.

Although I sometimes contemplate moving to Texas, I do notice that I can do all the creative things from my home in Florida. When I was in Los Angeles and even Chicago, I did not have the opportunities, I do in my home state. Down here I can focus on my creativity while working at a non-profit during the day. I wasn’t able to do that in metropolitan cities. I was living the struggling artist lifestyle.

Being in my hometown, I can expose more people in my neighborhood with things I learned in the city. I feel like I am impacting my community, if not directly perhaps indirectly. When I attend concerts for music reviews a lot of people will ask me questions about what I am doing. Their questions are in a way impacting them to learn about possibilities within their backyard. When it’s Halloween, I provide my neighborhood with exceedingly creative packs for the children. These are things they are not used to.

When I was a kid my father always told me the old saying “it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.” It took me moving to Los Angeles to figure that out. I went to school with some talented people, and a majority of them are not household names. They may be working for bigger companies, but there are very few that sprouted into their mini empire.

Moving to Florida was a way for me to tap back into my personal values that stemmed from my childhood and early 20s. I did not feel jaded by the big lights, and huge billboards nor feel like I had to act or dress a certain way. I could wear flip flops or yoga mat sandals to work, and it was considered normal. My yoga classes were $20 a month instead of $20 for each workout, and extra funds went straight to my craft and travels. However, the most important part was that I reconnected with people in my life who had been distant before. I connected with people I never spent quality time or just knew as an acquaintance. In 60 days from this article publication, I will be marrying my fiancé who was once just an acquaintance.

Most importantly from this, I learned that it’s okay to live in your hometown. I also learned that if you are going to complain about the actions of your hometown you really should be there to help it. When I started to help out my roots, my home state, I felt that I was helping to bridge the cultural gap. Hopefully, the stigma of living outside of a city is one day eliminated and there is more unity in America. Until then I will continue to live in the Sunshine state and attempt to build a more diverse environment.

One woman shares how she's helping to make her swing state of Florida progress, grow, and diversify., and how you can do the same in your communities.

Jacquelin Richards
Jacquelin is a philanthropist, who encourages others to create positive change in their lives through creative expression, music, yoga, and education. As Jacquelin has dealt with many life hurdles, she finds her peace of mind and outlet of negativity by creating art, writing, and practicing yoga. After having a major life setback, Jacquelin began collecting vinyl records leading to the publication of her vinyl-themed comic book and over five eBook publications.
Jacquelin Richards

Jacquelin Richards

Jacquelin is a philanthropist, who encourages others to create positive change in their lives through creative expression, music, yoga, and education. As Jacquelin has dealt with many life hurdles, she finds her peace of mind and outlet of negativity by creating art, writing, and practicing yoga. After having a major life setback, Jacquelin began collecting vinyl records leading to the publication of her vinyl-themed comic book and over five eBook publications.