For the entirety of my 15 years of life, I’ve lived in South Jersey, near all of the attractions it has to offer.
But there were times when I’d hear about the soft sand on California beaches and experience the beautiful, bright sun in Florida, that I would undervalue our local landscape. I’ve taken getting to live with the four seasons, having the beach a few miles away and living a bridge away from the Boardwalk for granted. Adults, teenagers and probably even children have complained about how “boring” or “irrelevant” New Jersey is. But the truth is, I love where I live and so should you.
As much as I do whine to my parents whenever I’m bored during the year, there are endless options of things to do by the shore. Between visiting local family-owned restaurants, crossing the bridge to Ocean City’s various stores and getting to enjoy the sun on the beach that’s fifteen minutes away, why am I ever bored? I realize I am never disappointed with a late family lunch at Charlie’s Bar in Somers Point and munching on their tasty wings. Same goes for Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, where I can go shopping for clothes, get another bite to eat, and even make a painting if I’m up to it. I also can’t remember a time when going to the Boardwalk with friends was boring for me. Finally, who doesn’t enjoy watching the sunset with friends and family on a Sunday summer evening in Longport? My 12-year-old self sure did.
Growing up, it was always exciting going from one season to another. It was either summer was getting too hot, fall was getting too cold, the snow in winter wasn’t fun anymore, and it was raining too much in spring. I won’t deny how annoyed I am when I want the freezing cold to be the hot summer, but I should really appreciate it. Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t mind going down to Southern Florida when the weather is below freezing, but I think I’d get a little tired of dealing with temperatures above 60 degrees all year round. And next time you complain about being pale, think about having sunburn in the winter.
I don’t think many people realize how many people choose New Jersey as a vacation spot for the summer, either. When you’re driving across the bridge on your way to a relaxing beach day, don’t you sometimes find yourself wanting to rage at a car with a Pennsylvania license plate? It’s most likely a shoobie along with hundreds of others making the most of their vacation. But since most of us by the shore have lived here for a long enough time, we don’t appreciate it as much as outsiders do.
When I’m older and hopefully have a husband and kids, I hope to still be living right here by the beaches, weather, Boardwalk and every other attraction South Jersey has. I want to spend my summer days tanning on the beach that most states don’t have and playing in the snow laughing my head off. Next time you roll your eyes at where you are living, think of how good we have it here. Think back on all of the fun memories you have made here. Thank you, New Jersey, for giving me an unforgettable childhood. I appreciate it.