kestrel

kestrel
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2022-02-12 13:48:36 (UTC)

Prompt 154: Leave the City

154. As you crawl into bed in your tiny studio apartment, you wonder if city life is for you. While the offer is open to move back home and save more than $1,000 you currently pay per month for rent, you don't want to go backward in life. Your hand is forced when you lose your job abruptly. What do you decide to do and why?
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This prompt encapsulates pretty much everything I have problems with when it comes to urban life. The living space is too small and much too expensive. Employment is precarious and those without it have everything stripped from them. It costs money to exist in the world, which is a terrible shame.

The worst part of the presumed perspective in the prompt is that not living in a city is some kind of regression. It's presumed that "city life" is the paragon of all options. Obviously, I don't share that opinion. I'm actually leaving "life in the big city" in a matter of months, for a much more rural existence.

I do think of my time in the city as, "waiting for the right time to go." I returned to the area in late 2014, and started working full-time again in January of 2015. I didn't come back here because I was excited for the opportunity. Rather, I came back because I felt like I had failed in the town I previously lived in (Nashville, TN) and needed to regroup. Fortunately, I didn't have to think too hard about what I would do or where I would go because rebuilding my cash reserves was a top priority, and my old day job in this town wanted me back. So I came back to the same place, they were happy, and I was paid progressively more and more cash.

I now have a good year-plus of cash reserves saved and decided to leave all this city stuff behind. I can understand that it's both a place where people can choose to be there, as well as a place people want to leave, but can't. Moving costs a lot and is simply out of reach for many, especially those who have children or elders they need to provide for. For those who want to stay, it's typically due to "cultural opportunities" or "my job is here" or "my friends are here."

It's all in what you value in life. Personally, I see life in cities as a treadmill. You work so you can afford transportation to go to work. You work so you can take a break from work via videogames or a vacation, so you can go back to work re-energized. You work so you can buy things in an effort to show someone that you are a worthy partner that won't drag them down financially while living in cities that are too expensive. You work so you can afford to pay bills for overpriced services, which cost more for city-dwellers.

...I'm just bitching now. My point is that personally I don't see cities as a place to live and grow. I see them as a tool: a way to do what I want. And I'm finally in a place in life when I can admit that I never want to live in a city ever again, if I can help it.


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