Why I Love My Life in DeKalb County

It’s the little things–

Often times I speak with people who are just a little leery of life an hour outside of the Windy City. “What is there to do out here?” and “Where do you go to eat?” are common questions as well as “You’re so far from everything. Doesn’t that get annoying?” “What about culture and opportunities for your kids?”

But, if we need to answer these questions in a concrete fashion, this is it:

1. Education, College Sports and Cultural Events
Whether you are a cold weather sports fan loving the excitement of a football game or are moved by music, NIU can offers sporting events, national music artists at the Egyptian Theatre, jazz performances, theatre performances, meals prepared by culinary students or TEDX talks –the calendar is full of opportunities. Exposing your children to culture and keeping your mind and soul nourished is easy here. And, if you are looking for personal enrichment, professional certifications or maybe a technical career for yourself or your older children, Kishwaukee College has some of the top programs in the Northern Illinois area.

2. Health and Wellness
We have it all here – dentists, orthodontists, chiropractors, optometrists, surgeons, therapists, pharmacies, hospitals and clinics. I really can’t think of a health issue that you cannot find a professional with which to consult.

3. Kid Friendly
Whether your child enjoys the outdoors or loves a good book, opportunities are close by. The local libraries offer readings, activities and classes for children and adults. For those who love the outdoors, there are over 60+ parks between DeKalb and Sycamore, there is more than enough green space for everyone to enjoy. Without the glare of all the lights of the city, beautiful horizons and setting suns are as commonplace as being able to view the stars at night.

4. Fitness
Take your pick from a number of fitness centers as well as our local YMCA with 2 locations and a plethora of free classes as well as specialized groups for addressing health issues such as diabetes and cancer.

5. Safe, Quiet Neighborhoods
One of the things I most appreciate for my family is the friendly small town atmosphere. Our kids often spend time with the neighborhood kids and I really don’t worry about them being outdoors by themselves.

6. One Penny
Downtown parking can be had for a penny. Where else can you do that?

7. Getting Around is Easy
Pretty much any daily necessity or casual outing is within a few minutes. Everything really is at your fingertips – it’s just that the drive is a country drive rather than through a metro area. Traffic is manageable and it is very easy to navigate throughout DeKalb County. If you do want to venture into the larger metro areas, larger shopping centers, entertainment venues and the airport are all 30-60 minutes away.

8. Coffee 
You can get a good cup of Joe here from your favorite national chains or our favorite family owned spots which contribute to the charm and history of the born and bred family owned small businesses that make our county great.

9. The Courthouse
We see it every day but have you actually stopped and admired this big, bold beautiful building? This incredible piece of architecture is especially stunning at night.

10. The Ellwood House
Built in 1879 by barbed wire entrepreneur, Isaac Ellwood, this museum is a gorgeous example of Victorian architecture.

11. Money
You do really keep more in your pocket out here in DeKalb County where things tend to cost a little less.

So, there you have it. Admittedly, I grew up in Naperville so I don’t have the lifetime perspective that some of you may have. Maybe that’s a good thing. I chose to be here. Really much of it is a just a feeling. The air seems fresher, the grass seems greener, and people seem friendlier – more willing to stop a minute and say hi or have a genuine conversation.

If my family and I lived in Naperville, we may go out for the evening and would most likely not see anyone we would know. If we go out for dinner here, we are most likely to see someone we know – people from business relationships, other families from school or church. I just feel more connected here. I guess that’s what it’s really about –being able to feel like my family is part of an incredibly caring and supportive community with big hearts! Being a part of the community here means that I most likely will develop some sort of relationship with those I help. Living in a larger community makes it more difficult to feel that connection or continue to be a pat of someone’s life after a business deal. Sometimes I think that this atmosphere means I feel more accountability to hold myself to a higher standard – I feel I owe it to those who sign on a dotted line with me to do my best each and every day.