City Life vs. Country Life (Or, the grass is always greener on the other side)
I started drafting this post in my mind during a four and half mile walk through the Kentish countryside, not too far from my own home when I was with my best friend and her family on New Years Day. It was such a beautiful, lovely walk and had a lovely raw and rural charm that I have never quite been able to replicate while strolling through Hyde Park. Over the last few years I’d wanted desperately to escape the countryside which I saw as totally dull and boring, and move to the city, preferably London, and that is exactly what I did. However, during this walk I found myself really realising how much I regretted this move, and how much I really did not want to return to the city in exactly a weeks time.
The annual village New Years Day walk in my friend Kathryn’s village, 2012
I am a country girl. I have lived in and grown up in the same house in the middle of a wood, in he middle of some fields in the middle of the Kentish countryside. While I went to boarding school in the heart of Canterbury City, Canterbury is beautiful, historical and not really all that busy, nothing like most other English cities; it seems to blend into the countryside and farm land around it, and it was always close to my rather rural home base by car. However, over the last few months before I was due to move I started to find it rather unbearable, small and stifling, with nothing to do and without the excitement that the glittering lights of the big city that always beckon to teenage eyes. I saw London as somewhere exciting where I could meet people, go places, do things, and, ultimately become so much cooler than I saw myself becoming if I’d stayed stuck in such a small town. So many people I know who were born and bred in the city, hate the country and can’t imagine themselves living there, and have actually managed to prove themselves right. I thought I was like them, a city girl rather the country bumkin I had been brought up to be.
When I visited London I never really minded using the underground, but now I have to use it on a regular basis sometimes it can be rather stressful and demoralising.
I don’t really make a secret of the fact to anyone who asks that I’m not really enjoying university, student life and that I find living in my bit of the city rather demoralising, but I was still rather surprised to find myself wistfully looking at Rose’s photos of when she went to stay with her parents in the country, curled up in bed with my laptop in my East London student flat. I really, desperately wanted to go home, but not because I was homesick, I really would have not minded going somewhere else as long as there were trees, fields, sheep and roads without traffic lights, roundabouts and pedestrian crossings every few metres, somewhere that was actually quiet at night.
The lesson that I have learnt? The grass may always look greener on the other side, and you’re not going to know if that is the case without taking a closer look at the patch of it, but you should always give yourself the option of changing your mind and going back to your roots. They’re called your roots for a reason!
As for what I’m going to do about my apparent dislike for city life, the answer is nothing, at least for the moment. I don’t really have much choice but to be based in London at the moment, and it does have its benefits, such as Selfridges, The Diner, Pinkberry frozen yogurt and some pretty awesome bars in Covent Garden. And besides, if all goes to plan I won’t be here for much longer, but that is news for another day.
Are you a city chick or a country bumpkin? And how do you know you are one, and not the other?