Bored in Charlotte?
Try harder. by Exploring spaces and creating connections, a Charlotte native changes perspective for the changing season.
By Katie Toussaint
I admit it. I’ve complained about Charlotte plenty of times. Traffic’s a cluster at rush hour. The neighborhood I rent in (love you, Dilworth) is too expensive for me to buy in. There’s absolutely no decent local wine around here (sorry, muscadine, you don’t count). I’m too boxed-in as a writer.
I’m a Charlotte native who’s spent 24 of my 29 years here, so my intermittent griping has been somewhat informed. But it’s also irresponsible. There are ways I can work around these points of discontent. Like: Never drive to my parents’ house in south Charlotte on a weekday before 7 p.m. Suck it up and buy a house I can afford in an up-and-coming neighborhood, and make it a home. Stop wishing for local wine and start supporting some of the city’s eclectic local wine bars. Start freelance writing more, and push my way into brand writing for a digital marketing agency (thanks for having me, Union).
Lately, I have little tolerance for snide remarks about the Queen City. A friend of mine just moved away with these parting words: “Charlotte is so boring.”
Mmm. Boredom should be the blazing red flag in your relationship with this city, not your reason for leaving it. I know boredom — I’ve felt it here, too. Boredom is what happens when you have zero plans that excite you, or when you realize that not a single person in your social bubble lights you up. Boredom is infectious — it can make you complacent toward relationships. It can make you hate your job, it can make you hate where you live. It makes you wonder what’s next.
What about what’s now?
My least happy years — the years I didn’t want to be here and the years I didn’t want to move back — were years I didn’t seek out adventure and inspiration and creative sparks and new faces. I never asked myself: What can I do today to enjoy where I am?
If you’re bored in Charlotte, you’re not trying. Once you decide you’re open, this city unfolds as a vibrant, energetic expanse of opportunities. Have you looked for them? You might find this is a place worth staying in.
Especially now, when my favorite season is sweeping in. Fall is the season I get to pull on a sweater, sip a glass of dry Malbec on the patio of my favorite wine bar, and watch the canopy turn yellow and crimson. It’s the season I set the date to marry my favorite person, who took a risk and followed me to this city I keep calling home.
I like to remind myself: Fall is a season for change — so change.
Change location. Pop open your work laptop at a new coffee shop. Check out one of the city’s amazing patios — Dilworth Tasting Room has quite the Koi pond. Stray far from the skyline — south Charlotte has its magic, too. Search for it.
Change your definition of adventure. Shed your routine, get weird and sit under the hanging bras at the Thirsty Beaver Saloon. Hang out with a friend on those enormous yellow swings on the Charlotte Rail Trail. Haven’t yet hiked around the trails at the U.S. National Whitewater Center? What are you doing? All you have to pay for is parking, and the miles are yours to explore.
Change your community. Ask that stranger on the yoga mat next to you her name, make her your friend. Go to your neighborhood farmers market and prompt vendors and artisans for their stories. Mingle with crazy-loud creatives at the monthly CreativeMornings speaker series. It’ll change your Friday.
Be conversational, get inspired. Collect names, ask for opportunities. Settle into a new-to-you space and drink it all in. Look around this city and really see it — adventure across it. Today, tomorrow and the next day. Just try. It’ll change your life. SP
Katie Toussaint is a copywriter at Union agency by day and a freelance writer and yoga instructor by night. Lately, she favors any dog-friendly adventure Charlotte has to offer.