Country Guy, City Life

The fact that I cannot occupy two places at once is a disappointing reality that I accept simply because it’s impossible. The next best alternative to my problem is relocating to face extensive travel times and gas prices.

So what problem would one be facing for these to be possible solutions? The problem is not knowing whether you prefer the peacefulness of rural living or the constant and ever-changing days of city life.

I grew up in inner city Atlanta. I went to school in downtown Atlanta. I attended Georgia State in downtown Atlanta. I am currently employed in downtown Atlanta. Atlanta is all I know; and I have loved every moment of it. I can honestly say that there is always something happening, there is always something going on, and there is never a dull moment. Is it a New York City? No, but the city is always buzzing. There is always something to be seen and someone to be heard. Something is always changing, so there is always something new to do. As the city grows, I never feel a need for more. No one I know, not even the most inquisitive and adventurous people have discovered all of Atlanta. No one has done all there is to do. No one has eaten at all the hot spots or relaxed at all the cool spots. Everywhere is within thirty minutes (max) of the next destination and each destination leads to another. The city is small in size, but is condensed with activities, changes and life. It never gets boring.

However, even though is does not get boring, it think it does get tired. There are instances when you need a break from it. For me, that is when I get thrown into a decision of which is better. I am originally from Phenix City, Alabama, where my mothers whole family (for the most part) still reside. My father is from the next town over — Seale, Alabama — where his parents still live. It is quiet and homely. Out-of-towners stick out like sore thumbs and when I have gone to the local grocer, I have been asked, “You must be a Richardson?” There are no strangers except the ones passing through vacationing in Florida. I love it. It’s quiet and quaint. To me, the quality of life now seems to have a direct correlation with the busyness around you and the amount of visible vegetation. The days are brighter and the nights are darker. The clouds are whiter and the stars are brighter. It is a relief every time I go, and every time I go, it gets harder and harder to come back to the city that I have loved my entire life.

After thinking about it for a while, I think I came up with the reason that the city life may be losing its grip on me. I think it is because of the slow but steady loss of culture that is spreading across Atlanta. I’m not saying that there is not a culture here, but it is a new culture that is replacing what the heritage and history of Atlanta. I came to this when I thought about this when I was  considering my favorite part of Atlanta; Historic West End, Cabbagetown, and Little Five Points/Grant Park areas. Even though these are popular areas, they all have historic and symbolic places to offer. These were hubs for Civil Rights movements, places of historic interest and when you are in either, there is a sense of history the rests there. There are stories behind certain buildings and sites that may not mean much to anywhere else, but to Atlanta, it means a great deal.

For example, a few months ago, Friendship Baptist Church and Mt. Vernon Baptist church were both bought by the city so that the land could be used for the building of the new Atlanta Stadium and future home of the Atlanta Falcons. Friendship Baptist Church is the oldest African-American church in Atlanta being organized in 1866. Morehouse and Spelman colleges were both started with some of their first classes being held in the basement of that church. That is the type of culture that I am talking about. Whether the city forced them to sell or they did on their own, the deal is done now. Cities attract money; money is capital; and in capitalism, everything has a price tag — even history. As different historical sites are lost amidst the city growing in entertainment and cosmopolitan attractions, more of the original feel of what Atlanta used to be is being lost.

The parts of me that enjoy naps on the porch surrounded by quiet greeneries grow more and more every time I think about where I intend to live out the rest of my life. The commutes do not seems as long. The loss of urban adventures do not seem that great. The beckonings of my family to move “closer to home” does not help either. Lord knows I love the country life and everything about it, but I never thought it could compete with living in Atlanta.

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