I know I’ve been talking about it non-stop lately (this will taper off, I promise) but we just moved back to the small, sleepy town where my wife and I first met 10 years ago.
Alex went to high school here. It was the small town she couldn’t wait to move out of, which she eventually did when she left for college in Chicago.
We lived in Chicago for a couple years when we were first married. It was a lot of fun — a total culture shock for a small town Nevada boy like me. I was a full-time tourist with my head constantly tilted upward at the huge buildings, enchanted by the bustling city.
Although we later moved back closer to home in the smaller (but urban, no doubt) city of Reno, NV when our financial situation got particularly challenging in Chicago, we always thought we’d move back to the windy city when we could.
Just a few months ago, we were so close on making the jump back… And then, something came up.
As my wife and I tend to do, we made a synchronized shift in focus back to this little town for no apparent reason. Her folks own a few rental properties here. It wouldn’t be too hard to buy one and fix it up to be our own.
No, no, no. We’re city people, at heart.
Or so we thought.
With Alex, especially — even though something was pulling her back here — a certain part of her railed against it. This was the town she couldn’t wait to leave, remember! Oh, the shame and mediocrity of moving back… home.
But the more we talked about it, the more it… made sense.
See, my wife and I both have creative career paths. She owns her own business. I help her and also work with a creative digital agency part time while also working on my ‘thing’ here on the blog and other various places.
We don’t have cut-and-dry j-o-b-s. Our career lives are fairly complex and require a lot of creative fuel to maintain.
Maybe you’re in the same boat. More and more of us are these days in some capacity, it seems.
At this point, I have to say, small town living has been the best move ever.
Someone told me (or I read it somewhere) something that seems totally relevant (forgive me if I’m misquoting it)…
If your work requires mass amounts of creative energy, live a simple life, even if you’re in a big city. You want your home life simple so that creative side of your brain can solely focus in on the work.
Although my brain is fried from moving and painting and fixing and dealing with contractors, now that we’re in, I already feel a huge part of my mental space freeing up. There’s so much I want to do with my work here on this blog, for example, but the part of my brain that I’ve been reaching for has been taken up with stuff that it naturally goes towards in a more urban setting. Like fireworks constantly going off. An increasing homeless problem. Crime. An abysmal school system and considering options for Rory. Parking. Traffic. An increasing drug problem among the younger people. Etc. (yes, living in an urban setting gets more difficult when you have kids).
Here, in this little town, things are easy. Parking is ample. We can walk most everywhere. Alex’s folks live a mile away, and her sister’s family not much further. We have a spectacular view of the sierras and are close to nature. Not much crime happens here and people tend to take care of each other.
Things aren’t perfect. But it’s right here in front of us and we know what to expect.
I have nothing against big cities — who knows what lies ahead for us — but although this life may not be exciting and cool… it’s perfect. And living this simple life frees up the mental capacity necessary to do important, complex work.
Time to roll up these sleeves, I guess. It’s just really hard to take my eyes off of that sunset.