So many of the friends I grew up with in my hometown of Gloucester, Virginia, couldn’t wait to get out of town when they graduated from high school.

They wanted to leave for the big city, whether that was Virginia Beach, or Richmond, or DC, or Nashville, or New York City, or points in between.

They wanted to go to the places where “things were happening” because Gloucester was too rural, they said. Or because there were high-paying jobs, or more people, or brewpubs, or a live music scene, or whatever.

Include me in that group. I graduated from high school, headed off to the big city of Norfolk, Virginia, to attend Old Dominion University and … well … yeah.

The big city isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.

It can be expensive. Crime is real. Schools aren’t so good. The commute can be atrocious and that’s time you never, ever get back.

My hometown, Gloucester, started looking a whole lot better.

You see, I started thinking about this concept called “quality of life.”

And how for me and my family, quality of life is far more important than chasing glitz, glam, that next high-paying gig, and a stellar LinkedIn profile rounded out with an impressive corporate title.

Funny thing, too. A lot of those friends who couldn’t wait to leave came back just like me. It turns out, Gloucester is a great place to raise kids. It’s affordable. It has everything we need.

Our families are here. Our friends are here. Our opportunities are here.

Together we’re also helping Gloucester thrive. I look around and see entrepreneurship. I see people just like me who had thought about leaving and came back home. I also see people who came to Gloucester from other places because it has what they want that the other places don’t.

We have great restaurants. Within a few minutes I can be kayaking on the river with my family, or hiking or biking on miles of trails, catching up with friends at not one but two brewpubs, do design work for a new winery in the Gloucester countryside — yes, winery! — enjoy our monthly festivals, eat at some of the best restaurants in our region, and look forward to a future that includes new state and national parks.

The great thing for me is that by coming home to Gloucester and launching my own design firm, I’m a vibrant part of the community helping build something great. Most of my clients are local businesses with that same vision of building something great in Gloucester.

The range of businesses we have always amazes me. The caliber of businesses and what they offer matches up anywhere. Even in the big cities.

I guess when it comes down to it, something I love about Gloucester is quality over quantity.

Quality of life matters to me. The question now is, does it matter to you?

Signing off… unless you want to connect!