There was a time in my life when I wanted a ginormous mansion, with marble, travertine and granite everywhere. I admit, I wanted a home so big that I would need an intercom to be able to call out to my family in the other wings of our chateau. I fancied a Jaguar in the driveway, perhaps a Mercedes-Benz in the garage and a Lexus for "roughing it."
I live in a nice city in Southern California. There are many things that are great about the city, but it is (to me) just another in a long line of nondescript cities in the state. If you close your eyes in one part of the city and open it in another, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.
Yes the parks here are wonderful and the schools are some of the best in the area. Our city does a good job of maintaining public spaces and sponsoring community programs. All in all it's a nice place to live. (In fact, that's the city's motto.)
But there is still something missing that I long for.
The city is having a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony this weekend and its something that we're considering going to. As I've driven around the area, I see that many neighboring cities are having their own Christmas tree lighting ceremonies too. And while the part of me that loves Christmas is happy for this...there is also another part (call it my Charlie Brown side) that is disappointed by this.
We're a 10 minute drive from our tree lighting ceremony; so we're going to have to drive to the middle of a large sports and recreation facility where it's taking place. There's something about all of us suburbanites coming out of our enclaves and driving to a recreation center to "connect" with one another at a tree lighting ceremony that makes me feel a little sad.
Why do I feel that we have the same chance of being in community with my neighbors at the Christmas tree lighting as I would in the middle of a big box store? After it's over, we will get in our anonymous cars and drive to our anonymous homes and live our lives, disconnected from one another, again.
I just finished reading a book by Sarah Wexler called "Living Large." In the book she details her observations with America's fascination of everything needing to be larger and bigger-from cars, to homes, and even plastic surgery (I'll leave that one right there, thank you.)
There is a lot in her book that resonated with me and I would recommend it. At the very least, it will get you thinking about why we live the way that we do and why we desire and aspire to what we do.
As for me-the older I get, the more I realize that perhaps living small(er) is not so bad after all.
How have your priorities, hopes, goals and dreams readjusted?