When you hear that I live in Oklahoma, what comes to mind? Cowboys and tee-pees? Flat terrain and pickups? You’d be right on some accounts. But you’d be wrong on others.
I’m not a native Oklahoman. Born in Texas, I moved here in second grade. I left for college but chose to return after graduating because I love this state. I actually fell in love as a kid. I was fortunate to be raised in a home where we traveled a lot. I wrote about some of my favorite places here. My dad is a professor at Oklahoma State. Because of his work, we visited state parks, landmarks and tourist locations all over the state. Everywhere from the Black Mesa area in western Oklahoma to the rolling hills of the eastern part of the state. From the tall grass prairie of north central Oklahoma to the Quachita mountains in south central. Beautiful each and every location.
And the best part of Oklahoma in my opinion? The people. Without a doubt in my mind, we have some of the most caring, generous, friendly people anywhere. Some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met live in Oklahoma. People who put in a full day at the office, take hours of their personal time to give to local charities and churches, spend weekends at the ballpark or soccer field with their kids. I live in Tulsa, and we have a reputation for being unbelievably generous.
Over the past few years, I’ve worked for and with companies based on either coast. During this time, I’ve noticed a misconception about Tulsa, and Oklahoma in general, that I believe needs to be corrected. When dealing with Oklahoma and its’ people, it’s not uncommon for east and west coast business people to look at us simply as “flyover country”. People wonder why we choose to live in a state that’s difficult to get to. Perception is that we are a group of unintelligent and backwards people.
If that’s what you think, you’d be wrong.
We choose to live in a state where southern grace beats out back-stabbing competitiveness (in most cases). Oklahoma is a state where numerous large companies are based, and thousands of talented, smart people live. We’ve been rated by Forbes as a “recession proof area”, with Oklahoma City leading the way. Tulsa was rated the top place to relocate by Relocate America. Our colleges are some of the best in the country.
Don’t overlook the heartland.