It's amusing as I watch my mind play with the idea of where I might live. At first I thought I was sorting priorities, and I guess that's some part of it, but I also see now that I'm mentally trying on identities as well.
Have you lived in a number of different types of places in your lifetime?
I don't just mean this apartment or that apartment, but a modern apartment with an elevator and maybe even doorman, then a wood frame cottage in a neighborhood with tree lined streets, then maybe a house on acreage somewhere? Big differences like those?
If you have, think back to what your life was like during each residence. Can you see that you frequented different establishments, hung out with different people, maybe wore different clothes?
I think there's a way we have a tendency to inhabit a part. We live the life that seems to go with our environment. And when we don't, when we live out of step with our environment, we never feel settled. We feel like we're in the wrong place, even if we don't know what the right place is.
To be able to live someplace where fitting into the vibe and currents of that place feels effortlessly like your best self, that's quite the accomplishment. As important as it can be for happiness, few people every really articulate that idea.
I was just feeling out some possibilities, as I consider a few different places available to me right now. I don't clearly see who would be called forth from within me by each place just yet, though I have a vague sense of "no" about some options that I think may relate to that. I would be pulled toward a life that isn't quite mine. Or I would feel out of place all the time.
In one I think I'd hear other people's TVs. May seem like a minor issue, but I don't want TV in my life at all, certainly not the sounds of whatever someone else is choosing to watch.
I had thought I didn't want the stairs, the dark room that made it useless in the daytime, etc. but really it's simply the shared surfaces with 3 other units in a place where I can tell TV watching makes up a lot of the evening activity. It's the mindset of the place. People work 9-5 then come home and watch TV through the evenings. Nice people. Happy people. But not my people.
It does have a nice lake though. Here's a pic of it, and you can see what the buildings look like off to the right.
And here's what the apartments look like:
Another place I just saw today that I'm pretty sure I could have if I wanted it has a lot going for it except it's dark (east facing living room and only other windows are in the kitchen and bedrooms, and not an eat-in-kitchen). The bedrooms are also quite small. I'd rather 2 larger ones instead of 3 tiny ones, but it is a 3/2. The way I'd deal with the light issue would be to have one of the west facing bedrooms as my office and also put a lounge chair in there. I'd probably write more because I'd enjoy hanging out in the room with the desk and computer more than other rooms for most of the day. LOL. What else would change?
It's completely a driving neighborhood, with not even sidewalks. So walking the dog would be more perfunctory than a stroll. The place I ruled out with all the TV people would at least have involved a lot of strolling on the many acres of landscaped lawns, complete with a lake. That would create a certain passive socializing, as you pass others also out walking and strike up conversations over your dogs. Not so in a car focused neighborhood with no sidewalks or grassways. But it's very close to my family's house, so I guess I'd be socializing more by going over there more often than the places 20 minutes away. No cafes to walk to that I would frequent. No casual encounters that I didn't drive to find. That's a particular lifestyle, a more insular and less generous one. Is it the time in my life for me to be that person?
Does it seem funny to you to be trying on identities like this?
It does make me laugh, but it's also quite practical. No use pretending the choice I make won't shape me.
There's one place I've inquired about that hasn't called me back that is very eclectic looking. Here's a pic from their listing.
Obviously the furniture wouldn't come with it. But I think you can get a feel for the architecture of the place. It's a garden house in a tree lined neighborhood where everyone cares for their homes as if they are works of livable art. These are people who mostly have TVs, but they're only turned on when there's nothing better they can find to do. It's more my hood. And it's walkable to areas I might like to be. It's also hundreds per month more than I'd wanted to pay. And did I mention they haven't called me back?
So this place may not be an option. But it shows me one lifestyle that might just suit me, a place I might just settle if I can accept paying someone's expensive mortgage with my rent.
And then there are houses in nearby suburban towns, that are mostly about families getting their kids into good public schools, and not a brown face shown in any town photos you can find online. Also feels like a very pretty, quiet life with very little warmth of casual contact. But it could always surprise me. You can definitely get a nicer place for the money than in the larger, more interesting cities. All these places are within about a 30 minute driving radius, so you really do get to pick your lifestyle if you work anywhere in the Triangle area.
I've pretty much ruled out Chapel Hill, simply because it's just too much of a college town, and I don't think I could handle that degree of 20-something vibe. I need a slightly older norm. But that still leaves soooo many options.
Well this is the fun little game I'm playing. Let's see what comes out the other end.