Shaddy: Complaints aside, this is a good place

By By Aaron Shaddy

By Aaron Shaddy

You’ve probably heard it before. A friend of yours starts talking about his life’s listless state of affairs, and before long he comes to the conclusion: “I have to get out of Utah.” He gives his reasons, saying that it’s boring here, he’s been here for too long, there’s nothing to do. Since you’re patient and you have some idea what he’s talking about, you bear with it, but wonder in the back of your mind why he just doesn’t move already if it’s so bad here.

By and large people want to move here. Vast parts of the state are in pristine natural condition, with almost 70 percent of all land in Utah managed by the National Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. Utah also ranks 43rd among the states in violent crime, according to the U.S. Census. These are both major perks for anyone growing tired of larger cities and seeking some fresh air to breathe.

United Van Lines, a company that has kept track of moving trends for more than 30 years, shows that 7 percent more people moved into the state than out in 2007. That’s a rate that is in keeping with population gains in the rest of the booming Mountain West.

We’ve also got jobs here. The rapid growth here has outpaced the workforce, leaving a labor shortage-a trend opposite to the rest of the country, where unemployment is on the rise.

Your friend is not swayed by a bit of this. A job, low crime and nice trails are all good and well, but they’re not particularly exciting or noteworthy. He needs events and shows and a sense of importance, and those sorts of things just don’t come around often in Utah. He’s right, of course-they don’t as often as other cities, and there’s no denying it. We are far from the cultural hubs of the country. But you have to wonder why it’s important in the first place-outside of the novelty value, it has very little effect on the quality of life.

Besides, as we all know, novelty goes away. Talking to your friend, you suddenly realize why he’s so down on Utah: he doesn’t want to take responsibility for his own entertainment, much preferring it to come to him. Rather than solve the problem of boredom by getting up and, you know, seizing the day, he pretends he’s stuck under fortune’s indomitable heel. By complaining about Utah’s lack of excitement, he gets the dual benefits of feeling better about his lot without having to do anything about it.

Of course, you aren’t bored-you’re too busy to be. If anything’s getting wearisome, it’s listening to people complain and doing little to change.

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