There are people who have a very clear sense of where they are meant to be; they are of a place. Perhaps they feel bound by birth, culture, or some other clear sense that this is their place. They could be die-hard New Yorkers, or people on a farm in Iowa. Their identity is one with where they are living. Then there are those of us who are forever wondering: Is this the best place for me? Maybe over there is somewhere better? I envy the first group, as their sense of certainty opens up resources to explore other questions. Opening up the question of where to live, when one’s situation allows for that question, is fraught with projection. As a friend recently told me, we can really never know what it will be like there. Living in a foreign country because you like the way the locals live is not really transferable. I can assure you, having done that a couple of times, that for all the upsides of experiencing a new culture, even if it seems familiar, there will be untold cultural miscues and troublesome disorientations. This, of course, can be part of the joy of the experience, but there will be a learning curve, sometimes infinitely longer than expected.
For the last 3 years, I have been living, sort of accidentally, in the mountain town of Park City, Utah. A nice place, beautiful, reasonably well run, convenient to a major airport, and terrific snow, if that is your jam. This is a state of just 3 million people, which means visiting the DMV is a lovely experience, but our area could be said to be lacking in culture. Can you name the Utah style of architecture, of art, music or food? Maybe they exist, but I am unaware of them. This is all fine, until I throw a fit at the appalling lack of good restaurants here, which does not seem to be an issue in nearby Colorado, Wyoming or Idaho. There is a distinct reason for this, which I will let you guess. Should this even be a rational complaint? No single place has everything. Am I asking too much? New York has an incredible culture, but there are some serious negatives to living there. Paris is tremendous, but the time zone, language, and culture will be daunting. You will overcome some of this, but you will never be a Parisian, as the locals will forever joyfully bring to your attention.
The best solution I can come up with is a doctrine of impermanence. No place is forever. I realize this flies in the face of the forever home movement but, the truth is, we all change, our needs change and our ambitions change. If I can convince myself that wherever I am is just a stop on the road to the next place, although it may very well be a decades-long stop, it eases up my quest to find the perfect place — which doesn’t exist no matter how much googling I do. All those Top 10 Cities guides? Amusing, and perfect for some imaginary generic person, but essentially useless. For you late-night geography obsessives, I have some suggestions. Number one: make sure there is a great medical center within 45 minutes of you. Bad stuff happens, just saying, and you don’t want B-level care when it does. Number two: views are nice, but what really counts are your neighbors. Spend more time understanding them than cost per square foot. Number 3: We think we can make a space adapt to us. Wrong. The space will force adaption on us. Architecture and spacial design counts more than you may think.
In other news, our Instagram @weareageist now has over 100k followers and reaches nearly 10M accounts a month. Seems like age has a following.
Onward and upward,