I went on a run the other day. It’s amazing the deep thoughts your brain comes up with while your lungs gasp for oxygen, your legs have lost feeling, and you’ve lost all touch with the world. There were some things I noticed around the neighborhood as well as some reoccurring thoughts that I’ve been having recently and those two events, the things and the thoughts, meshed together to form a whole new idea. Allow me to elaborate.
I live in a small(ish) town. There are cities larger but towns smaller so I’m not sure what you might call it. (Village? Township?)
It’s a regular small-town-America place. Everyone seems to know everyone and the most interesting thing which seems to happen is Farmer Brown’s chickens getting loose and causing a traffic jam on 1st Avenue. (A bit of an exaggeration but you get the point).
In a way I grew up in this atmosphere. I’ve lived all sorts of places but where I currently reside is where I call home and where I have called home for the past 8-10 years (I lose count…sorry).
I’ve just come back from attending university in a city (of sorts), where everything you could possibly think of is no more than 20-30 minutes away. Department stores, restaurants, parks, hotels, you name it, and it’s probably there.
I’ve been missing that a lot. The hustle and bustle of life in the city. The constant surging of a large, high concentration of human population running, driving, walking around going about their day to day business in the high rise buildings and the department stores. The impulse of human energy just constantly moving.
As I was running, these thoughts continued to run along with me through my mind. Then something happened that changed my outlook completely.
A man was sitting on his porch as I ran by. He smiled and waved. I returned both. He said, “Good evening, how are you?” I replied, “Wonderful, thank you” (in a dying, breathy sort of way). Then I realized I had been horribly wrong in my thinking.
Life isn’t about the busyness, the high rise buildings, the BMWs, or the designer labels. It’s not about what the highest level of education you can receive. It’s not about the best job you can get. It’s not about how much money you can make. It’s not about how many places you’ve visited around the world.
Life is about people.
Life is about people. People have been around for thousands and thousands of years and we have created the things that we crave most in a city atmosphere. How selfish and misguided am I to say that I miss the city life because I miss the energy and material possessions?
That’s what makes my lovely little town so beautiful. The people.
The friendly waves. The small chatter about the weather. The bonds that hold the families tight. The silly problems that keep the petty family feuds alive. The down-to-earth conversations you can have with almost anyone. Walking into the coffee shop and knowing most of the people in there. The lessons people teach you about life. Their simplistic view of life. Their smiling eyes and warm handshakes.
These are the things I love the most about people and life.
I wouldn’t give that up for all the cities in the world.