Having the opportunity to live in both the city and country, I will say there are things I have learned from both experiences. It’s difficult to choose (objectively) which lifestyle is better.
Throughout my life, I have lived in suburbs outside of cities, mediocre cities in country areas, and then, big cities, even big-big cities like Los Angeles. Now I live in a big town (can’t say small town, because it’s constantly growing). I can finally say it: I am living the country life. What’s strange is I haven’t become a “country person” or as someone might expect by certain stereotypes.
Despite what some may think… I often times miss the city life. I miss encountering people from different cultures and backgrounds. I miss learning about the Iranian food and Chinese culture. I miss having friends that offer me something different from myself. I miss the free concerts, the cool little coffee shops you bump into, the walkable and bikeable roads, and the unknown events happening around every corner. There is something fun about living in a city.
Though so many people live isolated and lonely lives in the city, at least there is always the opportunity of meeting people, whether they are so much like you or so different from you. However, I will say that sometimes there is an unpleasantness about the cities. I think we all know what I am talking about. It’s the pollution, the stress, and unbelievable traffic that quenches you and makes you thirst for peace: some sort of safe haven from all this hustle and bustle. With the population increasing, sometimes cities are hard to endure. You want to walk around and love all these people, but you encounter so many smells and odd behaviors, you wonder where your own sanity can rest its head. Though I miss the good things about cities, I cannot forget the bad things either.
The country life is not perfect either. I thought that I would experience more friendly people moving to the country, that people would somehow “be at peace” and loving to one another. With scenery “like that”, they have to, right? The unfortunate thing you find out is it is quite the same. In fact, people may be “nice”, but they aren’t necessarily nice. I found most people who had lived in the country their whole life battle with the fears of strangers and transplants taking over their turf. Much of this I think comes from their insecurity of encountering people have experienced “different lives” than they have. As hard as you try to fit into a local culture, the local culture may fight to stay the same: meaning, you’re not invited (sorry Charlie).
That’s right. You escaped the all stressful and unfriendly people from the city to be joined with the judgemental and cliquey people of the country. Unfortunately, gossip is second-nature to those living the country. I found most people are bored and insecure, so gossip is the first way to experience entertainment as it is the first defense to social situations. Of course, you go in thinking you handle such circumstances. You even approach people about it hoping others will change their ways. Sadly enough, some people do not change.
This is different from the city. In the city, people may not care about you at all. You do not exist to many people. It’s not that people are terrible people. People are too busy. They already have a whole handful of people they care about. They don’t have time to judge others because they’re too busy talking about the concert they saw over the weekend. I’ll say it: I kind of miss that.
Still, in some strange way, the positives outweigh the negatives for me when it comes to living in the country. Though cities offer everything I love when I visit, living and working in a city is stressful most of the time. There’s so much pressure to be the “best of the best” at what you do. I mean, in a way, this applies to everything in the city because it is about the “survival of the fittest.” It’s not that some of us aren’t fit. We just don’t want to compete. At the end of the day, we want silence, solace, and general place of peace. You will not always find that “peace” in the country, but you are more likely to experience “peace” in the country.
As someone who used to like the constant chaos of noise and music in my ears, there’s something wonderfully-beautiful about the silence and nature of the country. Things will not always be silent, but I would rather hear a wolf howling in the middle of the night than a gunshot outside my window. As a result of living in the country, I like to think that I change my surroundings. Perhaps I can make my neighbors “open” to something different. Though I am not perfect, I hope I can lead by example. Maybe I can show the kind of friendliness and mutual respect I want to see in this world. And maybe, I’ll take something away from the people that live here.
I am not trying to say the country is better or more beautiful than the city. There are wonderful traits about both places. As someone who likes nature and quiet side of life, I definitely do feel more at home in the country. I think I’ll stay, at least for now…