Painting the town red, or the lawn green

Friday, July 28, 2023

In 2015, I moved away from my parents and started living on my own. I left behind the suburban house, the lawn, and the family, in favor of a small two-bedroom apartment in the center of a big city. I loved that apartment. It had the perfect location, close to friends, school, a part-time job, and everything my heart desired in terms of shopping, food, and drinks. However, by 2018, my love for the apartment had faded, and I moved to the other end of the same city, where I currently live and love even more.

All this time, I painted the town red for myself, with a romanticized vision of metropolitan life. Spontaneous outings to cafes, thrilling nights out, and sunbathing on the waterfront. Living in a small apartment didn't matter as long as I had the whole world waiting just outside my doorstep. I have, to a certain extent, lived the city life I had dreamed and romanticized about. As I said, the city has been painted red.

Now, it's been eight years since I moved from the satellite town to the big city. I'm in my late twenties, and my friends have scattered, living their own lives, most of them in relationships. However, I still see them often.
I always believed that my lifestyle, and the spontaneity of meeting my friends, depended on living centrally, no more than a 10-minute walk from everything. But when I look at the activities my friends and I do together today, I realize that the location is less crucial for the success of our gatherings. Sure, it's convenient to be able to walk home in under 10 minutes, but after a few times of taking the night bus back to "where I come from," I now see that it's not as essential as I once thought. It's not like I bring a girl home with me every time I step out the door. Sometimes, we meet up at a friend's place located far away, requiring a car or public transport. So, as long as there's a good bus connection, location doesn't matter anymore.

On the other hand, the red paint has started to fade. When I'm off work, I usually head straight home and laze on the couch. There's not much else to do in my small two-bedroom apartment without a balcony or access to a garden. As a child, I was very active outdoors, especially in the workshop where I tinkered with various tools and materials. It's a desire that has always been there but has been overshadowed by my romanticized ideas of big-city life. Perhaps many of those big-city ideas were actually illusions? I have an office job that I love, no doubt about it. But when I come home from work and sit on the couch in my apartment, my fingers itch to do something. There's just not much to do in a small two-bedroom apartment. It always ends up with me restlessly watching YouTube videos until it's time to cook dinner, after which I continue watching YouTube videos while eating, and then back to the couch for more YouTube. What do I usually watch on YouTube? Mostly videos of people creating things with their hands.

I've started to crave having a garden to walk out into. It's just not the same going down to a park as it is to open your own door and step directly onto the grass with bare feet. I dream of having a garage and not having to pay for parking. To light a bonfire, play loud music, and have all my friends stay over. To have my closest family within walking distance. Taking the bus doesn't seem like a crazy idea anymore. Hell, I'm old enough to take a taxi when it suits me.

I've always said that I won't buy a house and move to the "countryside" until I've found a girl to settle down with. But so far, I haven't met that special someone, and it's made me think. Maybe I will be more relaxed and self-confident because I have the possibilities to do what I really desire? What if I started putting my thoughts into action and engaged my hands instead of spending all my free time watching YouTube videos? Perhaps the location of my residence isn't that important after all. It's probably more crucial that I stay true to myself and do what I want and what I think is good for me. Maybe this change in lifestyle is precisely what I need to create the right conditions to meet a sweet girl?

I, at least, am starting to feel like I'm done painting the town red, and have started painting the lawn green instead.

I have been thinking of moving away from the big-city. This is me arguing with myself, trying to figure it out. Originally written in Danish, translated using Chat-GPT 3.5, and then adjusted by hand.