Monday, March 7, 2011

Warmer Climes?

Recently I've been talking with friends and thinking a lot about why I live where I do. As winter stretches into March and I spend two hours a day in transit, why don't I live somewhere easier? Like Dahab, above, where I went snorkeling in February?

I have never been that attracted to "easy" places, because I feel a really Midwestern guilt about it. If it's too warm and comfortable and beautiful, I might get complacent, and forget that there are cold and inconvenient places, start to feel that I deserve to have an easy life, and lose the ability to appreciate littler pleasures. One friend thinks it is the folly of youth to think that we should make life harder than it is-- she suggests moving to L.A. Another says I really would be happier moving back to the South, if to a larger city. Others seem to advocate going abroad merely for it's own sake.

I really am not sure if there is anything better than spring after a long winter. But then I think about Hawaii and surfing every day, and surely that's better. Many people I know have no qualms about longing for a "better" place-- somewhere with mountains, the sea, a more cosmopolitan vibe. This always makes me first hotly defensive of Chicago's merits, and then uneasy about the valuation of natural and man-made beauty. I think this might be because I grew up in a pretty mediocre town in a state known for its natural beauty. Though I have a love-hate relationship with my hometown, I'm a staunch defender of the (moral?) superiority of "mediocre" places.

1 comment:

mosey said...

I know what you mean. I grew up mostly in a small town in Florida, but I've lived abroad in Israel and now live in Brooklyn, NY. The question you ask... it's something I think about often. Weighing the 'easier, more natural life' against the 'cultural, more brutal but stimulating' one. I lived in San Francisco for a couple of years though and I have to say, California in general is a great in-between. You can pretty much find the best of both worlds there. I may very well move back some day. Maybe you could do a year abroad somewhere then move to Cali? :)