Thursday, June 10, 2010

Making Peace With The City

June makes a year since I moved back into the city. It's only been recently that I changed my drivers license to this address. I was so sure I wasn't going to stay here. I was sure my nerves just couldn't take living in the city. I lived in the city my whole life and my whole life I was a nervous wreck. Then I moved out to the country and got still and quiet and my nerves calmed down and I wasn't a wreck any more. But then not long after I moved here, I WAS a wreck AGAIN! I'm not the brightest bulb in the lamp but even I could figure out what that meant. It meant that communing with nature and being still and quiet is what calmed my soul. So until just a couple months ago, I was just biding my time until the lease ran out here so I could move back out to the country. But in the meantime, I decided, I would try to get out somewhere quiet and still as often as possible. So I bought an inexpensive tent and acquired some hand me down camping and backpacking gear. And me and Bossy started spending some time in the woods. And wouldn't ya know it??? My nerves have calmed down. Turns out I don't need to live in the country to keep my sanity. I just need to unplug from the city as often as possible.
The problem was that I was resisting. I hated the city and I was bucking against it instead of looking for the good in it. There I go with that looking for the good thing again. But it's true! I was focusing on the traffic, the noise, the unfriendly people, the pace is too fast, it's too crowded, too congested, did I mention the TRAFFIC???? And those were the things that expanded in my mind and in my life. Everywhere I looked was a car wreck or a traffic jam. Everyplace I went, nobody was smiling and no one would speak if I spoke to them. I came home at the end of the day exhausted and drained. I felt overstimulated and agitated. And I became very depressed and felt overwhelmed by it all.
But when I began to make the effort to look elsewhere, my experience changed. It started out just as a survival thing. I was just going to do camping and hiking until I could get moved back out to the country. But I soon realized that it was all I needed to rejuvenate myself and lift my spirits. And the great thing is that one of the campgrounds and hiking places is less than ten miles from my house! I don't need to have a 40 mile commute into town every day. Just commuting ten miles out to the campground will accomplish the same thing if I do it often enough. And then I have the best of both worlds! I have all the advantages of living in the city and can get away from it whenever I need or want to.
I think one thing I've learned from it is that sometimes it just takes a small step to make an improvement. Then one thing leads to another and then another and it keeps expanding until eventually we have a new life, a life we have imagined into being, one little step at a time. And that's good! Look for the good! :)