We all want to believe in magic. As a kid, the whole world might as well be magic because we have no idea how anything works. But as we learn and experience life, the layers of fantasy slowly strip away. For most adults, looking back on childhood curiosity and wonder will always bring back fond memories.
Some people never grow all the way up.
Searching for perfection in life is a residue of magical childhood thinking. Nothing in life is entirely good or entirely bad, reality is always somewhere in the messy middle.
When it comes to where we live, the tendency to project our desires onto a city we haven’t experienced misleads us into confusing the ordinary and extraordinary. Most of life isn’t beaches, hikes, parties and restaurants. Most of life is sleeping, working, doing chores and running errands. Those other things in between are very important, but they make up 5% of your life.
Does your city obstruct 95% of your life?
When picking a location to spend 100% of your day, don’t focus exclusively on the extraordinary bits in between the ordinary. If your life is constantly being interrupted by weather, traffic, pollution, noise or inconveniences of any kind, that needs to factor into your decision.
Find a place that doesn’t require you to change your habits to suit its limitations. Find a place that let’s you live as you wish to live when you wish to live it.
For me, I always loved the idea of living in a dense city and walking to work, walking to the grocery store, hopping on and off public transportation to get wherever I need to go. Until I actually lived it… it’s awful. Sometimes I need food when it’s raining. Sometimes I need to get somewhere quickly. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to deal with crowds. Cars were invented for a reason, they are amazing. And parking lots exist for a reason, they are so convenient.
For me, the city is a childhood fantasy where the ordinary is hard, disruptive and tiring. The suburbs are where the ordinary is easy, effortless and calm.
How often do you really go to the mountains?
I love the mountains. I love the beach. I used to live near them both. But when I did the exercise of documenting my actual 5% activities — not what I thought I did, but what I actually did — I realized the amount of time actually spent in these places was minimal. Maybe, a few times a year. Why was I putting a premium on something my actual behaviors told me I didn’t value that much? People always want to pretend they are living the life they imagined they would live. You’re not that person you imagine in your head. Grow up.
These things are very personal, there will never be a single answer for all people, but I decided to find a nice suburb of a major city where 95% of my life is optimized for convenience and 5% is easily accessible a few times a year by airplane.
Life is beautiful.