I was watching my "Facebook Movie" this week, along with those of many friends, and had a few realizations. Not only did it make me sentimental for the years gone by (it's amazing how a 60-second segment can make you cry!), but it made me realize how many good memories and friends we've made while living in Menifee.
I will admit, when we first moved to Menifee we weren't exactly in love with the area. While we liked the small town feel, we couldn't get over how, well, UGLY it was.
We've had a few opportunities to relocate over the years, but the downturn in the housing market made it difficult to move. As a result, we've stuck around a lot longer than we ever expected. What's really surprising to us, though, is that now we find that we really don't want to move that much after all. Menifee has become home.
The more I experience life, the more I realize that you can be happy anywhere you live. It really all depends on the attitude you bring to the experience. If it's cold and snowy, you put on your winter gear and enjoy it. (Or, you sit by the fire with some hot cocoa and a good book!)
If it is mild and sunny in the middle of winter, you head outside and appreciate the amazing weather we have been given and say, "I LOVE CALIFORNIA WINTERS!" (I did just that last weekend as I went mountain biking with some friends in a t-shirt and shorts.)
So while no place is perfect, I've come to appreciate a lot of great things about our hometown. I'd like to share my top 10 list, "Why I like Menifee."
1. Everything is close by: Whether it's a trip to the grocery store or taking the kids to school, I don't have to drive far. If I want a specialty store, I can take a quick cruise down to Temecula.
2. Parks and Recreation: I love that there are multiple playgrounds within walking distance. If you are looking for sports, there are a lot of programs available. There may not be everything, but there is certainly far more than enough to keep my family busy!
3. Small Town Events: From parades to community events in the park, you can attend these and be sure to find many familiar faces and just enough activity to make the day special.
4. Safety: While we are wise to be cautious, we do not have reason to fear taking a walk around town or our neighborhood.
5. Active People: Whenever I head out for a run, I am guaranteed to see many other people out walking, running, or riding bikes. The large group of cyclists that pass me and the moms pushing kids in strollers give me a sense of community.
6. Proximity to Mountains, Beaches, and Desert: In a short drive, you can either be hiking or skiing in the mountains, playing on the beach, or riding in the desert.
7. Mild Weather: It is still hard to get over a 70-degree Christmas day, but you really can't beat our weather. How awesome is it that we can enjoy outdoor sports in the middle of winter without bundling up? I've realized I prefer a couple hot summer months over a long winter. Besides, when it's hot, we can find a pool or head to the beach!
8. Good Food: I'm not referring to Menifee necessarily, but our general area. Of all places we've lived, we have found the best food here. Food from all parts of the world are easy to find and delicious. It isn't hard finding stores that sell specialty ingredients so we can cook a variety of food at home as well.
9. Big City Attractions: I love the amenities a big city has to offer, like museums, amusement parks, zoos, professional sports, and Broadway shows, but I don't want to live there. We are close enough to many big cities that we can take a day or half day trip to enjoy things there, and still come home to sleep in our own bed.
10. Friends: The longer you live somewhere, the deeper your roots go. We don't have family here, but we do have friends that have become like family. In a town with so many families and so many activities to enjoy, it's not hard to find people who share your interests.
With all the area has to offer, my family has never once been bored while living in Menifee! Our biggest challenge is finding the time to enjoy all the area has to offer. I still may not call Menifee beautiful, but I do call it home.
Karen Thomas is a stay at home mom of four daughters, has been on the PTA board at her kids' school for four years, and is a volunteer at her church, in addition to her activities as a volunteer soccer referee, a piano teacher, and a runner. Her column will appear here every other Thursday. Comments are welcome.