Friday, September 26, 2014

Observations About City Life

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This summer my family made the 3,000 mile move across the country from Charleston, SC to Seattle, WA. I had no idea how much it would change me and the way I think about things, especially myself.

I now want to launch into a post about my self discovery. It is a good one, but I'll save it for later. Instead, I want to describe some of the things I've notice about living in the city. I am a country girl, but I have always wanted to live in the city. As most great things, the opportunity came when I least expected it. I really wanted to like living in the city, thankfully I was not disappointed.

Living in the city reminds me a lot of being on campus at college. Granted, though it was large, I went to a university out in the middle of nowhere. It was a city, but only a very teeny tiny one. However, there are a lot of similarities. For example, we use buses to get everywhere. When I was in college it was to commute from the parking lots to the classes. In the city, it is from my apartment (to the closet bus stop) to wherever it is I am going. Today I was thinking about all of this while sitting on the bus on the way to the library, which would otherwise be quite a long walk.

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I am also reminded of campus life because everyone, young and old, walk around the city with headphones in their ears. This happens everywhere in college, everyone goes about their day listening to their own soundtrack. It is quite the phenomenon if you think about it. Somehow listening to music makes you feel less alone while you navigate through the day. Any of the people with headphones in will still often acknowledge and talk to you so it isn't fully a means to alienate, it is simply the lifestyle. Everyone accepts it, most do it.

Everyone being so close to each other reminds me of college too. When I lived in the suburbs (so most of my life up to this point), you see people when you get to places. If you go to the library you see people there. If you go to the grocery store, you see people there. If you want to see a friend, you go to their house. My point is don't see people in between. You get in the car and you arrive at your destination. Yes, you see other cars, but not the people in the cars. In the city, there are people everywhere all the time. You see people as you walk, as you arrive and as you leave. People are just closer, they're everywhere, and it is completely normal to have others see you.

Everything is closer. After college, one of the things I always missed was the fact that you were closely surrounded by everything and everyone you needed. The store was close, the coffee shop was close and your friends were close. In the city, everything is close. The store is close (a convenient store is even closer). There are three coffee shops withing two blocks of my apartment (more as you travel closer to the heart of the city). The best part is that my friend is right next door. Even the library, that I complained was such a far walk is still only a mile and a half away.

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I love it. I am glad I do, I really wanted to love it. In fact, I fall more and more in love everyday. I love the weather, the people, the culture and the freedom. There is a beautiful freedom of being seen by others while being you. There is no need to hide because you are in plain sight, with everyone else being unique and themselves.

One thing that has really stood out to me this week is how living in the city makes you the background in many other people's stories. Everything is closer and you see more people. Well, those people also see you. As they go through their day, doing their routine with their own drama and purpose, they see you. You are an extra in their life. They see you walking on the road. They see you on the bus. They see you at the coffee shop. How often have you commented on people you see out and about - what they wear, how they act, where they are going? How many people have commented on you? I understand that this is a thought that could disturb some. However, it comforts me. It lets me know that I am here, I have a story, I have a purpose. I am okay with being an extra in someone else's life. After all, they are just trying to get through the day, same as me.

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Living in the city has given me more confidence in being myself. I am not afraid to choose. I am not afraid to be bold. I am learning to be brave. This is something that began before I moved, but I don't think I would have gotten where I am now without this move. This transition has made it all possible in a way that I can't describe.

It is still life. There are still good days and bad. There are still happy moments and lonely ones. I don't think those things ever change, no matter where you are. However, the city has brought me to life in a way I never expected. For that, I am forever thankful.

Have you ever experienced city life? What are your observations? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds amazing! Glad you have transitioned so well! Based on your description about it, I'm slightly jealous!