city life vs. small town life: making the most of it
It’s no secret that I love city life. If you’re been reading here for a while, you probably know that my heart belongs to ‘the city’ and not the ‘small town’. I’ve lived in five countries and in everything from a small twelve-house village in Germany to bigger urban settings in the US, Canada, and Europe. I feel that this has given me the chance to compare life in different types of places and I have found that I’m happiest in a busy, colorful, and eccentric urban setting. What I love about being in a city is the easy access to museums; film festivals; the zoo; parks and large green areas that are full of people, dogs, kids, and cyclists; the opera; concerts and plays; and a varied selection of restaurants, cafes, and pubs. Sigh… (And I’m well aware that some of you reading this could easily list just as many reasons as to why you prefer a small town and why life in a larger urban setting doesn’t appeal to you).
Unfortunately, life takes you places you don’t always choose for yourself. Right now I’m living in a small college town in a very rural Midwestern state full of farms, cornfields, and cows. My commute to work takes about ten minutes by bike and I often feel like I pass the same five houses there and back. While some might use the words idyllic, serene, quiet, peaceful, safe, or charming to describe this type of place, I have lately been using a lot of words to talk about my surroundings that aren’t fit for small children or a general family audience.
Particularly now that Spring is arriving, I’m nostalgic for the wonderful ways that I was able to enjoy my days in Munich last year – a city very much in line with my ideal place to live. But while I realize that it’s nice and even to be expected that one looks longingly and nostalgically back at times spent in a ‘happy place’, I know that dwelling on it and wishing I were there doesn’t help make my current situation better. So here are my alloted five minutes spent reminiscing and pining for Munich last Spring…
Ok, reminiscence over, nostalgia back in check.
I’ve had a few really good conversations with my husband lately about what constitutes happiness and how to make the most out of every stage in life. We feel very fortunate to have each other, our health, our baby on the way, and our home. And we’re big believers in happiness being what you make of a situation. I may not be in my dream place but I am with my favorite person in the world and that trumps everything else. So this Spring and Summer, I’m putting my words into action and making the most of my small town layover. Besides revisiting places I discovered and loved last summer, like the nearby lake and the bike trails just outside of town, I plan on biking to the small farmer’s market in town on weekends, exploring any festivals or events coming through our area, taking a bike tour/bike date through our state capital (only a half hour away from us), and enjoying the best of what this area has to offer.
I want to spend more time living in the moment and less time wishing I were somewhere else, somewhere ‘better’. Wishing that doesn’t actually bring me to another place, it just brings me to an unhappy state of mind. I want to live in the now and enjoy the things that make this stage of my life special and unique. And a big part in accomplishing that will be finding the things I enjoy doing in whatever incarnation they exist right here, where I live today. So I’m forseeing a lot more bike rides, a lot more outdoors adventures, a lot more exploration of this area as the weather warms up and the academic semester ends.
I’m curious – do you live in your ‘ideal’ place and what makes it ‘ideal’ for you? And on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is location in determining your happiness? ~ S.