|My beloved Oakland.|
So I did. I first went to Chicago, then Austin, then Philadelphia, then Boston, then San Francisco, then Oakland. I have lived my entire adult life in cities. If I were to give my top three reasons for wanting to live in a city it would be (in this order): the diversity, the culture, and the lifestyle. (More on those things later).
Now, I am in a small rural town that is 20 minutes from the county seat, which is a slightly larger town that looks and acts like something out of the Andy Griffith Show (I don't say that mockingly- I always liked that show). I am in a temporary limbo until I move to Columbus, Ohio. (Another city!) I am experiencing, for the first time, rural living, and small town living.
I have always been involved in many projects and have something to do. I like to organize things and events. And while I am getting involved at the local UU church, the opportunities are less than I am used to. What I crave are those three "city reasons": diversity, culture, and lifestyle. I know that I will be happier in Columbus. And I will be happier to raise my kid there, too. I now see a small, culturally vibrant city as THE place to raise a child- mainly for those three "city reasons".
|One of the sculptures in the town I grew up in, |
which shows its early steel worker heritage.
Culture: Art and live performance are things that I crave. I used to organize a poetry slam for years, and booked bands at nightclubs. I helped found a collectively-run gallery and performance space still operating today. I founded and ran a performance festival of local artists for several years. I have an appreciation for people who put their heart and soul into their creative work. And I want to be (and have my son also) surrounded by these creative folks- these culture-makers. I want him to realize that he can do anything- he can play any instrument, dance, tightrope walk, eat or walk on fire, or anything he chooses- and there are people out there who like to do things he has only yet dreamed of. He may like those things, too! I want him to learn that there are many ways to shape and change the world- activism, organizing, art, and performance are a few.
Yes, a connection to nature is important too. Which is why we will be camping, hiking, and fishing regularly. But nature is in the city, too.
Stay tuned for part two, where I talk about how this particular part of the world (Appalachian Ohio), while beautiful, is NOT for me. I need a larger city, I'm afraid.
Where do you live, and what do you love and hate about it? Is it good for raising kids? Why or why not?