The Simply City Life

Photo courtesy of Beautiful

“Ahyana, I’ve been thinking that maybe all of this wasn’t so much about a career, relocating, or any of those things. Maybe it’s really about you. You the person, regardless of where you live, work, marry, have kids, or whatever else. Maybe this time in your life is all about who you are and who you’re becoming.”

I couldn’t have agreed with my aunt more. I had recently gotten that same memo. A few times actually. The first memo about me learning more of who I am and am becoming read “You’re a city girl.” And it seems silly but it wasn’t until recently that I saw my love of cities as more than a like but truly part of who I am as a person. 

Photo courtesy of Vogue Mexico

I come alive in cities. I am in awe by all of the life there, even amid seeming chaos there is life. There’s the movement. People are constantly moving towards something or someone. The shops and eateries are reminders of people who moved towards their idea and made it real. A real place where needs are met, relationships redefined, and new businesses are birthed. Cities are where I see God and they’re where I go when something has happened in my life and I have lost sight of Him. 

When my soul needs a creative boost, it’s the city that I go to to find it. Sunday’s are #sweetSundays undoubtedly because I spend hours before or after church enjoying the city, discovering new artwork, trying a different hot beverage at a different cafe, people watching from a different window seat, and exchanging pleasantries and moments with random people that I don’t know, may get to know, or may never see again. 

Photo courtesy of Marcell Turner

I find great hope in cities. For someone who’s hope was dismantled the first half of this year, to see hope, let alone in cities says a lot. But I see it. I see it on playgrounds as kids play tag, as the person mistakes the bus, as the family leaves the hospital with the baby that was 7 weeks early, as the guy leaves the restaurant with her number, as people walk to polls to vote. The anticipation of some good, passivity, and possible is riddled all over cities. Even cities riddled with high crime rates, low graduation rates, high sexually transmitted infection rates, and high unemployment rates. You may have to look for it, but it’s there. The good is present with the not so good. You just have to seek it out sometimes. 

And even that. Seeking. Cities are great for teaching us how to seek, to pursue, to persevere. They teach us something about journeying, trying, being disappointed, trying again, and meeting with success. How else could I or anyone else tell you about a city’s best coffee shop, gelato, brunch, happy hour, or gluten free and vegan friendly places? We had to seek and find. 

Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk

You know what else I just love about cities? The community. Don’t get me wrong community exist all over, in suburbs and cities, but the kind of community that comes with living and working in close proximity, taking the A train, Brown line, red line, or 42 bus is different. The community that comes with familiar morning walks past schools and the crossing guard, the yoga studio with mommy and me classes, and the six older Ethiopian men  dressed with hats sports, coats, and dress shoes at 7:30am gathered around a table the size of a tv tray, is the community I absolutely adore, and find myself in. I find myself in the curiosity of the school children, the protective nature of the crossing guard, the compassion of the mothers, the laughter and finding joy in small things of the men. 

I am a city girl. 

Photo courtesy of Julie Garther Hammer as Pinned on

What about you? What has your life been telling you about you? What did you start thinking it was about the end product, the job, weight loss or gain goal, the relocation, breakup, or make up that maybe just maybe was way more about you and some undiscovered or not fully embraced part of your identity than you realized? 

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