City Years, Country Years

Last weekend my sweetheart and I took our first little getaway without the baby in quite awhile. It was pretty simple, just a night at The James in downtown Chicago — dinner, a little shopping, walks by Lake Michigan to enjoy the first burst of springtime weather that we were lucky to get. I just appreciated seeing all the people and having all these possibilities laid out in front of me: restaurants, cafes, shops, bars, spas, museums, galleries, Eately.

(I also was incredibly psyched to go to Trader Joe’s — people who live in places with Trader Joe’s, do not take it for granted!)

(I was also psyched to stay at a hotel and SLEEP IN.)

It was a nice feeling to be back in a city. Though I gladly left NYC ages ago, I still miss cities in general. I miss a kind of vitality associated with perpetual motion — like how people, traffic and streets are a kind of circulatory system, moving around energy, ideas, inspiration. I always feel such a burst of industriousness when I get back, like I want to add to and participate in that movement. Like in some minor way, my own little endeavors matter.

Sometimes I wonder if we have city years or country years in our lives — years of great stimuli and action vs. those where repose and peace are needed to repair and recuperate. I’m kind of in the mood for a city year, I think. After a year of adjusting to mamahood — and dealing with post-partum depression — having more of a city spirit is like returning to the parts of my past self that I miss so much.

I can’t quite just up and move anymore like I used to — and I’m just not capable of relentless productivity and activity — but there are ways to bring that kind of “cityness” to my own little world. I used to be a person who really identified with “my city” and relied on my surroundings to bring a kind of excitement to my life. But as I get older — and no longer live in a true metropolis — I don’t need my environment as much to foster that spirit of adventure, openness, ambition and, yes, optimism that I associate with living in cities. It’s certainly easier — but cosmopolitanism is a state of mind and outlook.

(I also once equated cityness with a certain style or consumption — but that’s a whole other story!)

Still…I’m hoping to make it out more to Chicago and other great places this year. Spring is just about ready to bloom — and clearly wider horizons beckon.

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