I’ve always wanted to live in an old city – one filled with Victorian architecture, clock towers, museums, historical libraries, and so forth. I want a place where I can walk to the stores if I wanted to instead of driving constantly. Someplace with little cafes and unique shops opposed to cluttered department stores. I want to be in a place with history, art, and breathtaking scenery. For as long as I can remember, this is the type of city that I’ve felt drawn to and can never seem to get out of my mind. It’s also a city that appears to be as far away from me as a place can get.
For the time being, I still live in my hometown. It’s not even close to my ideal city and sometimes it’s easy to feel stranded here. I don’t mind small towns, in fact I prefer to live in small towns considering how uncomfortable I am with crowds. Only, I’d like a small town that still has culture to it. I’m not exaggerating when I say I reside in the middle of a cornfield. I have to drive 20 minutes to come across a non-fast food restaurant or movie theater and another 45 minutes to an hour to come across a half-way decent mall or bookstore. Even my college town was vacant and separated from the rest of the world. I would never choose to live there again or even my hometown for that matter, but I’ve yet to find this meaningful location.
I often wonder how others get lucky enough to live somewhere they love and how they gain the money and courage to do so. Today is day 8 of no sunlight down here in rural IL. While I’m looking at the grim sky and barren fields, it’s easy to daydream about where I’d like to be. I want to be able to walk down a sidewalk with lights, but not enough to blind me. I want lights that feel comforting, but lively. Something to bring up my spirits and fill me a sense of wonder. I want to see people sitting outside little cafes and catching up with old friends. I want to see gorgeous buildings that have survived the centuries and still give pedestrians that awe moment even if they’ve walked past this landmark each day for as long as they can remember. I wan to live in a place where I feel like I’m not missing out on anything, but I’m not inclined to place myself in every museum or every event. I want a place with a leisurely atmosphere, but filled with something new every morning.
It astounds me that people my age have found their own version of this little slice of paradise, but it’s a good reminder that life shouldn’t be looked at as a race. Maybe a year or two from now I’ll find myself there. As young as I am, I’ve noticed that opportunities tend to present themselves when I stop desperately trying to seek them and focus on what I have in front of me.
Perhaps this city doesn’t exist or it’s not all I’ve built it up to be. Maybe I’ll never even find my way there, but for now the thought alone can act as a beacon – something to look toward when I’m feeling stranded and solemn. It’s a comforting daydream and a reminder that someday I’ll end up exactly where I want to be within my own time.
” I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can’t. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form” – Midnight in Parish (2011).