Wednesday, October 20, 2010

City musings

A miscommunication and friends' busy lives left me alone on my night in Chicago for work a couple weeks ago. I was pretty disappointed about plans falling through, (and I had no one to go out with), so I set out to just buy a quick sandwich and settle in to watch tv and do some work.

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As I strolled the city blocks looking for a panini to grab and take back to my hotel room, I realized how uncomfortable I am in a big city--especially one that should be more familiar than it is. (I lived most of my life 30 miles outside of Chicago!)
It's fun, exciting, and busy when you're with company, but the big city can be lonely when you're alone.

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After I finished my pity walk, I started to appreciate my surroundings. People watching and musing; making up little stories for the lives of those of whom I only catch a brief glimpse. (am I the only one that does this?) The distracted dog walker becomes a busy mom taking her opportunity to get out and enjoy the night.  The well-dressed girls, a group of surgeons at a medical conference ready to hit the town after a long day of neuro-lectures.  The confident bicyclist weaving in and out of traffic, a finance guy heading home; the hipster jamming to his tunes at Starbucks, an aspiring novelist.

And I, am whoever I want to be. (though, certainly--not a tourist.  I left my camera in purse to prove this point. All the photos were taken earlier in the day, or later from my hotel window).  I am more confident, more friendly, more of everything I wish I'd be with people who really know me.

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There's a part of me that loves the anonymity and distance--it's an escape for you and everyone around you.

But a part of me misses and loves the small town I grew up in.  You can so easily get swallowed up in a city. I miss the slower pace, the unfeigned friendliness, the simpler life.

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Although I doubt I'll ever live the city life, I love living near cities (Chicago, now San Diego). I can see myself settling in suburbia, or maybe in a smaller city. (LA, Chicago, New York are just so huge!)
 Are you a city girl or country girl at heart? What do you love about where you live now?


Andnowlights said...

I'm so like this! I love cities, I love being in them, I love how much there is to do, I love the energy... I hate being alone in them, because they're lonely when you don't know anyone!

Kelly Loy Gilbert said...

What a beautiful post! (Though I wouldn't rank San Diego as a big city. ;) ) I loved reading this.

I think I'm not so much of a city person myself either, though there are things about cities I like--walking everywhere, how busy things are.

Chanel said...

I'm a suburban girl. I would HATE the country. I would HATE the city. I like living on the outskirts (10 mins away) but you'd be surprised at the quality of life difference when you live 10 mins outside on Washington, D.C. :)

Anne said...

I always thought I was a city girl. I adored living in Chicago. Always somewhere to go. Always something to do. So much fun.

But now that I live in the bona fide country... I'm surprised to find that I LOVE it. It's quiet. Beautiful. The neighbors are friendly, and we can leave our door unlocked. It's great!

steph c said...

I am definitely a city girl at heart. I lived outside of NYC growing up, and in center city Philly for 5 years after that. Being on the outskirts of DC now (a pretty small city IMO), I miss my busy city life so much. I can appreciate suburban living, but if I had my way it'd be back to the Big Apple!

Katie said...

We're out in Romeoville, and I've been in the suburbs my whole life. I like having the city nearby for when we feel like going to the museums, a play, whatever. In general though, I HATE it. I would/could never live there. It's only ok in small doses! I also make up stories while people watching. I mentioned this to hubby one day, and now I share my stories with him, and we reference people by the stories. "Hey the guy down the block, the one who took his son who he gets on the weekends to the aquarium because he's the cool dad...they're moving" LOL, it makes people watching way more interesting and lets me use my imagination, which I so rarely get to do in my day job!

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