Well, the verdict is in. Forbes Magazine has rated three South Florida cities in the top ten of the “Nation’s Most Miserable Cities.” Ringing in at number one, as the most miserable city in the United States, is Miami. At number four is West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale is number seven.
Now don’t I feel silly?
At great time, trouble and expense my family and I purposefully chose to move here to West Palm Beach, the fourth most miserable city in the nation. And, if I were to relocate right now, I would most likely choose either Miami, or Fort Lauderdale.
Where are the other miserable cities, you might ask? Well, a good number of them are in Michigan, a few are in Ohio, and some are in California.
But how is it that Forbes could find Miami to be more miserable than Detroit (number two on the list)?
Forbes used a number of factors to calculate misery, including foreclosure rates, unemployment rates, violent crime, political corruption and tax rates. They even threw in things like sports teams, weather and commute time.
Apparently, the joy brought to Miami by LeBron James was not enough to offset the poor performance of Miami’s other sports teams, and the recent recall of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez.
I am certainly not contesting the fact that South Florida has been hard hit by the real estate crash, or that taxes are high and jobs are hard to find. I have real sympathy for my friends and neighbors who are struggling.
But I really have to ask – did no one at Forbes visit Bridgeport, CT, or Scranton, PA?
Yes, I am aware that here in South Florida I live in the shadow of the 1%. I see their yachts when I eat my lunch by the waterfront. Sometimes, they patronize my business, and I appreciate that.
Perhaps my misery calculator is different from other people.
Why do I find South Florida my number one place of joy? Well, let’s see. There is always something fun to do, there is a great deal of cultural diversity, and no one will ever tell you that you are too old to do…anything. For a creative person, a spiritual person or an entrepreneurial person, South Florida rocks. For someone committed to honoring their inner child, it is the best place in the world.
It may be that South Florida is not a great place to own a home, or work a jobby-job. But if you like drum circles, art shows, free concerts or sunny days on the nude beach in January, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere but here.
Sand hill cranes, peacocks, lizards and palm trees make me smile, a lot more than smog and snow storms do. My response to Forbes Magazine is this. I am going to tip back a cold drink and thank the Unofficial Patron Saint of South Florida, Jimmy Buffett, that I found my way to this imperfect paradise.