Nature vs. Nurture

Here is a tale of my past weekend spent in the black forest, or what I learned from it. Namely: I should not be living in the city.

It all started out pretty harmless I guess, me growing up in the most typical suburb you can imagine. All the houses lined up, fat driveways, the quaint safety of a known neighbourhood, some carefully kept nature surroundings. Sure we had the occasional deer who would ruin the bushes or flowers, and a family of rabbits even got stuck in our vegetable patch. There were fields to run in and trees to climb, it was New Jersey, for chrissake. But the city wasn’t very far, all the shops and whatnot at a driving distance (which is ironic, since americans use their car to get to the end of the road, but you know what I mean).

Then we moved to France, still outside the city, but already a little more crammed. Houses nearer, much smaller backyards, more dangerous streets to play on. At least there was a forest near by, but that keeps getting smaller too, to make room for more highway. But still, even in Versailles (which is 10 minutes away), there wasn’t much to do at night. The last train home was at ten, and we had to much schoolwork to do to party anyway.

Then, the big city. Well, kind of. The thing with the town in which I live is that although 300.000 people live here, you can’t really notice. Most live outside of the city center, which is rather small in comparison. But I live smack in the middle, next to a main street. Bad choice on my part, I know, but at least this way I can get home on foot from almost any party. That came in handy. But then there’s the noise – the CONSTANT NOISE – that I really can’t stand anymore. And it’s polluted, full of people everywhere, concrete, hectic, depression, headaches.

The thing that struck me most with our weekend in the black forest, is the tole it took on my personality. Even though I hardly spent 48 hours there, it really opened my eyes. I could get up at 8h30 in the morning and not be grumpy. I didn’t need half an hour to be awake, I was actually looking forward to breakfast. And oh! The Food! The very delightful, fresh, non processed food! Is there anything better? Why does it have to degrade so much on it’s way to the harshly lit supermarkets? And then you get up, open the window – and instead of car fumes you get fresh, crisp mountain air! Green air! It’s like a slap in the face to wake you up. But the most surprising of it all is that my good mood kept going. All day long I had energy, I wasn’t lazy, I was actually happy to walk around, up or down a mountain. And I didn’t get the need to snack, either.

I miss the big open spaces, the wonderful landscape right in front of the door, the friendly people, the animals, the calm. Even if there are few people, and reserved ones at that, who was I to think that wasn’t my thing? That’s exactly my thing! Sure, I was raised in a very open-to-the-world way, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be happy in a secluded place. No crime, no dirt, no danger, no chaos. The world is still in it’s right place over there, who knew that even existed. I don’t even think I would miss the “opportunities” of a city. I didn’t miss the internet or the tv (sorry guys), even though there were my best friends here. Now all I see is the constant garbage it’s pouring on me. The pressure, the commercials, the achievements. I could walk out without a dress code over there. I could have a simpler, happier life.

Or am I just kidding myself? What do you think – city or country? Of course there isn’t the space to put all the pros and cons in one post, but I’d still like to know your take on things. What would you miss, what do you long for?

One thought on “Nature vs. Nurture

  1. well i do get your point about the advantages of country life, but don’t you think it was only so great because it was special? a vacation? i think if you were to move to a really secluded place you would start missing things. and you would go back to tv and the internet eventually because climbing up mountains gets old too and when coming home from work that probably wouldn’t be your idea of a good time anyway. speaking of work, i think that finding a job while living somewhere in the black forest would be a real drag, always having to commute and then when you come home after a long strenuous day the village supermarket with all the great non-processed food is already closed.
    obviously i prefer the city to the country, otherwise i suppose i wouldn’t be moving to such a big one. but then again with cities i find that the big ones are the better ones because there all the shitty stuff like noise and bad air and grumpy people gets outweighed by all the great stuff like cool restaurants, and fascinating people, and amazing job-opportunities, and museums with the best exhibitions, and concerts of the newest bands etc. etc.
    and i don’t even think i would change my mind if i were to have kids of my own, because i grew up right in the middle of the city and nevertheless i had a really, really nice childhood.
    but in the end i guess this is not a question that can be argued but a really personal attitude that can’t be changed by any reason in the world.

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