Most of my friends (including my husband) prefer to be in a city or at least close to a city. I do have some who like me do not want to live in the city but most at least want to be near one because of something that I haven't quite understood. What I glean from them is that there is "more to do" (which is true in some cases - theatre, opera, ballet, art museums) and there is definitely better shopping (although with the internet that is not necessary anymore). I respect this attitude as being completely valid and quite popular (look at the population of Seattle compared to Bow, WA) but I can not relate to it no matter how hard I try.
Two days in a row downtown reminded me of why I am so much happier living in the semi-rural suburbs than I am in the city (or as I like to say "we couldn't afford to move all the way to the woods so we live next door to the woods"). I was thinking a lot about this while stuck in traffic on the way home from work yesterday. Getting down Mercer St. from the waterfront to the freeway takes at least a half hour to forty minutes (even though I doubt it's over a couple miles) during rush hour. Sometimes it takes as long to get that couple miles as it does to get from Seattle to the exit off I-5 to go East toward our town (if you're in the HOV lanes - not if you're in normal traffic). But it's not the traffic really that bothers me. Cars are so comfortable now with cd players and iPod hook-ups and heat and air conditioning and if you're parked in traffic (which often happens on Mercer) you can read your email on your iPhone, and if you're carpooling it's like being on a coffee date in the car.
Well, one reason is that since I've not had a horse, it's been the holidays and I've been doing a lot of time sitting in my office at work two full days a week and at home at the dining room table at my computer trying to catch up on work when I'm not in the office - I've actually gained about five pounds over the last couple weeks. Ugh. So, on a completely physical level it's better for me when I'm out at the barn every day. And that will resume one of these days when I'm not so far behind at work trying to learn everything and fix all the mistakes I've already made, and when I have a new horse I need to be out every day riding or taking care of.
But I thought about what if I had my old life where I lived in a downtown neighborhood and worked in an office (pre-kid days). I guess granted back then because it was also pre-RA kicking my butt days (I only had small flare-ups maybe a couple times a year at most and very briefly) I did spend a lot of time at the gym. I guess now that I think about it the gym definitely made me feel better and helped me retain somewhat of an ounce of sanity. So, if I ever end up having to live in the city again I just need to live near a gym where I can go swimming and lift weights.
One thing about the city though that does not change is I find it draining. I have tried to explain that to other people who don't experience it and have never fully been able to express it. I have one friend - my horse vet actually - who experiences the same thing. Otherwise I usually just get this perplexed look that gets more perplexed as I try to explain, "I feel drained ... um ... and depressed ... and um ... I don't know how to explain it." If I used the word "depressed" of course people just assume I am talking about a much deeper underlying issue or "wherever you go - there you are" "if you're depressed in the city you'll be depressed in the country". But oddly enough that is not the case. Since we moved out here I have slept better, felt better and been much happier and more relaxed.
I wonder if anyone other than myself and my friend/vet feel this way? I wonder if people feel that way in the country - if they feel depressed and drained until they are back in the city? I wonder what that is about? I wonder if I had grown up in the city if I would feel this way or if it is because so much of the comfort I found as a child was in the woods and with animals? It's just one of those things I wonder. I tried so hard for years to be happy living in the city but the only way I could stand it was to surround myself with "country-esque" things - making a garden in a bare spot of land by my apartment or in window boxes, having lots of pets and trying to find apartments that had trees outside the window.