Oklahoma: Part 2
Two years ago, I wrote about our decision to move to Oklahoma (having spent all of 48 hours there before we put an offer in on our house). Since then, many friends and colleagues have asked the typical questions. What’s it like? Family doing well there? Knowing what you know now, would you move there again?
The last question is the easiest to answer. It’s an emphatic YES. We are so grateful to have moved here at this juncture in our lives. Our kids are happy and healthy, and it was 100% the right decision for us for them.
As I write this at 8 AM on a Sunday, I hear the church bells chiming in the distance. No, I’m not religious, but I get a sense of comfort hearing them go off each day as we enjoy all the wild animals visiting us each morning in our backyard.
But let me address the elephant in the room before I share more of our experiences.
Oklahoma is not for everyone. To be, it’s not a perfect match for us either. Like every place we have lived, there are things we wish were different or that we could change. Not everyone would feel comfortable living in such a politically red state, and that is OK. One of the great things about living in the states is that there are options, and with each option are pros and cons.
That being said, for my family at this juncture in our lives (and in this time in US history), Oklahoma was hands down the right place to move.
What We Love
So many things!
- The people
- The wildlife and expansive land
- The options for schooling
- The feeling of community
- The affordability
- It’s a safe place for our children
It’s worth underscoring how important the people have been. In this ever-divisive world (where the number of people willing to hurt each other over political views has quadrupled since 2017), it’s a huge relief to live in an area that seems unaffected by the broader societal backdrop. Given the high percentage of religious affiliation here, belonging to a community has continued to rank high on the priority list for most people we come into contact with. I have a hunch that people who maintained friendships and support through the pandemic faired better with respect to their emotional and mental health. You could certainly feel that here. People banded together and worked together, which was a thing of beauty.
Multiple people have remarked to me how there is no place like Oklahoma when it comes to the people. I tend to agree with them. Yes, outliers will always provide counterpoints to the averages. But as on average, it’s been a breath of fresh air.
The amount of schooling options for younger kids is also a huge benefit. Given the large homeschooling community, there is a broad spectrum of options. Public school? Of course. Take public school entirely online and at your own pace. Yup! And this option existed years before the pandemic. Want to mix and match part-time schools? Homeschool co-ops? Private tutoring or lessons? Check check check.
Don’t get me wrong, for many people, public school is the right choice. But for some kids with different needs or families with unique goals, this flexibility is fantastic. And you’re not the weird outlier here. It’s baked into the local culture.
We’ve also loved the amount of wildlife that comes and visits our backyard on a routine basis: deer, wild turkeys, owls, hawks, cardinals, possums, raccoons, turtles, etc. We live in a neighborhood but get the feel of living out in the expansive countryside. It’s a nice hybrid of both worlds.
What We Don’t Love
It’s not a long list, but a few things stand out.
- Tornado season
- Scorching temperatures in the summer
- Lack of options when it comes to healthcare
- Lack of options when it comes to healthy foods
- Road cycling isn’t convenient or safe
- Certain political items
- We miss some of our friends and community from Colorado
Again, this isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK. We are comfortable dealing with these factors knowing that the benefits outweigh the detriments.
That all said, we are happy to be OK residents, and I can’t think of a place we would rather be while raising our young kiddos.
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About Rick Manelius
Quick Stats: CXO of Atomic Form. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.