January 24, 2012 – When I accepted my current job almost four months ago, I was one of the happiest and most relieved women on earth.
Being out of work for two years will do that to a person.
Then a little panic set in, not necessarily because I was starting a new job, but because this job would take me out of my comfort zone of suburbia where I’d spent more than 20 years, and lure me back to center city Philadelphia, a place I hadn’t played in since my early 20s when I didn’t mind pounding the concrete in heels.
Back then I enjoyed singing Petula Clark’s “Downtown” in my head as I boarded the train that took me to work. And at the end of the day, it was fun to head over to McGillan’s with the gang for happy hour. But I became a creature of habit while raising my family, and I grew accustomed to my 20 minute car commute, listening to the stereo as loud as I wanted, and sometimes wishing to get caught in a little traffic because it was often the only time I had to myself.
Things change. Kids grow up go to college and move out, and people get laid off and have to start all over again. This leads me to the top ten reasons why I appreciate the change:
10. Exercise – This suburban girl gave up heels and opted for a few cute pairs of walking shoes, since sneakers are simply not my style. Each weekday I know I’ll walk at least two miles a day, which is the distance from the train station to my office building, and vice versa – and probably more if I go out for lunch. Every little bit helps.
9. Shopping – Christmas shopping was a lot easier (with a salary) and without having to make a special trip to the mall after work. There were quite a few nights I stopped in stores along the way to the train after I’d left the office, making the process much less painful since I’m missing the shopping gene.
8. Restaurants – I feel like I’m in my 20’s again. I can go out after work without having to rush home, and enjoy what center city has to offer. I haven’t done it YET, but I can. And yes, McGillan’s is still open!
7. It’s a nice change – I got used to the sights and sounds when I drove to work, and taking the train has opened up a whole new world of excitement for me. There’s time to listen to music or read a book, but often I just stare out the window and chill.
6. Plenty to do – The burbs usually close down by 8 p.m. but the city is always bustling, which means there’s always something to do. I dare you not to find something fun to do in the city. I double dare you.
5. Great character – Working in Old City right across the street of Independence Mall offers historic charm and wonderful little parks complete with trees and benches. It’s a great place to be on a sunny day.
4. Tourists – Even in this economy there’s no shortage of tourists traveling by in horse-drawn carriages, tour buses and duck boats. It’s amusing to watch them, almost as much as it is for them to watch us. I know they’re thinking how lucky we are to work/live in this wonderful Mecca.
3. Live entertainment – I told you about the banjo man who puts a smile on my face each morning as I walk through the station. On the way home each evening, there are usually a few jazz musicians attracting more than their fair share of attention. Sometimes people sing along or dance and clap, making it even more special. There’s no better way to pass the time on the rare occasion your train is late.
2. People watching – You can’t name a better place on earth to people watch or eavesdrop on conversations than center city Philadelphia. Oh, the things you see and learn. It’s often a fun and entertaining way to spend your time because every type of person is on parade here. Good character research if you’re a writer…
1. A good job – And the best reason to work in center city is getting a good job that didn’t require me to take a pay cut like I thought I’d have to do.