Breaking up with the City

I never thought it would happen, but I seem to be falling out of love with City living. I think the City and I need some time apart, time to think things through, to decide whether we can make it work again.

I’ve always loved the City. Ever since I can remember. As a kid, I’d be here quite a lot. We’d have trips to Sydney to see a show, visit friends, have yum cha. I always knew I’d end up living and working down here and I have now for almost 12 years. I’ve loved it for so long. But lately….

I’ve been feeling smothered by the City. The air feels dirty. The crowds feel intense.

As I get jostled about in the morning when I’m doing the daily commute, I no longer appreciate the energy of the other people around me but feel a strong desire for much more personal space.

The vibrancy of city living is conflicting with my need right now for quiet and peace and solace. I don’t know where these new needs came from. They snuck up on me and caught me by surprise.

Our flat feels small and cramped. I’m tired of guests that have to sleep on the floor, of having to remove 8 items from a cupboard, just to reach the sandwich press, of lugging bags of groceries up three flights of stairs.

I’m tired of walking through Darling Quarter, a million children screaming, squabbling, laughing. It seems so loud now, when it was once a delight.

I’ve felt upset lately and when I contemplate reasons why, it all seems to come back to this feeling of being cooped up.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe here.

And yet.

There is energy here. Bustling crowds of people, mostly in good moods, all on their way to something fun. There are nights out, every day of the week, festivals every weekend, new restaurants opening every month.

There’s spirit here. And diversity. Multiculturalism like no other place I know.

This feeling  typically comes every January. After the quiet peace of time with family over Christmas, coming back to Sydney life always jolts me. But then I settle back into a routine and feel glad to be living in a place I love so much.

This year, that feeling didn’t come. I’ve been sick of Sydney, sick of the grind, sick of commuting. Wondering if I can do this every day for the rest of my life? Can I do this? This thing that we all need to do? Every day?

People come from all over the world to see this beautiful city. And it is beautiful. But maybe right now, it’s just not for me.

5 thoughts on “Breaking up with the City

  1. I moved out of San Francisco right before I was 30–about ten years ago–for the same reasons. I left my job, too. Maybe it’s age. Or maybe you’re just ready for something new, a new phase. I now live about 30 minutes south of the city–and work outside of the city, too–and enjoy now being only a jaunt from nature walks; I also enjoy the historic, small downtown I live near, where parking is relatively easy. Trying to find a Starbucks open after 8pm on a Sunday will make you scream, though. But if you don’t live that far away, you can always go to the city for artsy movies, museums, restaurants or to see live bands pretty easily. You just have to watch your liquor!

    1. Thanks for this comment. It’s so true. I think life just outside the City will be far more peaceful but with just a 30 minute drive, the action isn’t too far away! And finding a car park easily? I will never take that for granted!!

  2. I feel a Jackson move in the air!

    Maybe its time you actually have a “find youself” session with nature and the quietness of your own thoughts; holiday or a stay at Gwinganna?

    You’ve also had te travel bug of late, maybe its time for an OS trip before a great holiday in Byron in December….

    There are many options Neen and its OK to feel exhausted by life as long as you can recharge and get going again!

    1. Mwah. Truer words were never spoken my wise friend. I agree – I’m hard on myself when I get tired and everything seems overwhelming. But perhaps a big holiday is all I need to get my mojo back.

  3. I’m in the opposite boat. I lived in the city and moved out of it. Sometimes its so quiet I can’t even think about anything else except just how quiet it is. Good luck finding some inner peace.

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