I am in many ways an urban girl at heart. I love the culture and diversity of the city. I love having easy access to galleries, festivals, museums, and interesting people from every background imaginable. I find it exciting to be able to take classes and workshops on just about any topic I can imagine. I like being able to walk or ride my bike to all kinds of interesting shops, bakeries and restaurants.Husband and I are foodies and the city offers no shortage of opportunities to sample diverse cuisines, and buy exotic ingredients to cook with.
My ideal social group is made up of creative, diverse, worldly, and educated people. The type of people who are always up for trying new things, being spontaneous, taking interesting classes, hosting amazing dinner parties, and traveling to exotic places. These types of people would be easy to find in the big city, which is brimming with interesting young professionals and diverse social networks.
But the city also comes with crowds, noise, pollution, a high cost of living, crime, traffic, and a whole whack of other things I really can’t stand. When it comes down to it, these factors make it a no-brainer for me to live in the country, where I can have space, fresh air, and peace and quiet.
From a social perspective, I long for the city, but from a health and wellness perspective, I long for the country.
And that disconnect is really hard to reconcile.
I mourn the fact that living in the country may prevent me from ever having the type of social life I always imagined I’d have. My visions of a future surrounded by a social network of people from all over the world, with fascinating careers and a multitude of talents, who can discuss world events and culture, who’ve traveled and seen and done exciting things, who are creative and think outside the box and love to try new things and go on adventures – are increasingly unrealistic when I look at the realities of living in a small town.
My cohorts here are friendly, but the majority of my peer group here has never traveled outside of this province, let alone outside of the country. The majority have no higher education, and while that alone isn’t really a problem, they also have no real interest in the broader world around them or a thirst for knowledge. Most of them have interests limited to hunting, shopping, television, pickup trucks, and going to the local pub. I don’t intend for this to sound snobbish, there’s nothing wrong with those interests, but it’s not the social life I want, and certainly not the life I imagined for myself.
So I guess I’m stuck. Longing for a reality that is frankly, unrealistic. I really want the best of both worlds, a rambling house in the country with lots of space, mature trees, a big garden, and quiet tranquility, within a short cycling commute of a hip urban community full of fascinating people and exciting social opportunities. And as I’m pretty sure that doesn’t exist, I’m left contemplating which of those lifestyle factors matters more to me.
I really don’t know.