It's true – I love living in Rockford


Usually about now, I get the itch to move.

For most of my adult life, I have never stayed put in one place for too long. First, I have a career that, when you are gaining experience, moving up means moving. Staying at one newspaper hoping for a retirement or death before you can move up in position was not for me. And I look back at people who did just that, only to never reach their full potential.

So, I have moved. State to state and job to job. I’m sure being in the military at a young age and moving a lot for four years helped some, but I do like the challenge and enjoyment of going to a new place.

For the first time in decades, however, I have no desire at all to move. None. Zero. Now, this might come as bad news for some of you, and I am sorry to disappoint you.

The reality is pretty basic – I love Rockford. Yes, I said it. My wife and I bought a house in Rockford coming up on four years ago and we couldn’t be happier. First, we love our house and our neighborhood. Our only close neighbors are a quiet, kid-less couple just like us. Well, my kids are grown, and we certainly aren’t quiet. But they put up with us, somehow.

We have made a lot of friends. Not just friends, but good friends. These are people you feel like you have known forever. And many live very close to us.

We lived in California for five years before moving to Illinois. As beautiful as it was – and I love the desert – we never really made any close friends. It was much harder there, for some reason.

Here it has been a breeze. We never lack for something to do and have plenty of friends to enjoy activities with.

Much of that revolves around music, and Rockford has a fantastic music scene. My wife and I play music and have really enjoyed connecting with the local scene. It is a very active scene for the rock bands we enjoy and the music we play. The musicians here have been very open and welcoming. Trust me, that is not always the case.

There are great bands covering a lot of genres of music. And there are a number of places that host live music every weekend.

It’s a blast.

Of course, there is other art available, as well great record stores, museums and even a symphony orchestra. And don’t forget the festivals and other events that take place during the warm months.

And the food? Rockford boasts some great restaurants and a ton of variety. There are even multiple places I can get great Mexican food. It is my personal favorite, and I am very, very picky.

I know many people talk about the crime in Rockford, or the schools being bad or the roads being rough. Yes, the roads are pathetic. And as a taxpayer, I get pretty burned up about it at times. But they are slowly fixing them.

As far as crime goes, I have seen crime everywhere I have lived in the country. And I can honestly say, I have been everywhere in Rockford and have never once felt unsafe.

Schools? I have no idea, honestly.

Look, no place is perfect. But I love this region and I sincerely love Rockford. It has its problems, like all cities, but it is a great place to live. And it has an airport that flies to a lot of great destinations.

I always tell people, if they don’t like where they live, they can always move. I don’t see that in my near future – for once.