As we get older, it inevitably becomes easier to pinpoint the times in your life when you grew out of something, behaved differently than you would now, made things a priority that you now wouldn’t or were convinced some aspect of your life would never change. Life’s a funny little rollercoaster of undertakings and phases, and if you survey the years past, you – like me – are very obviously able to identify something that once was “you,” but certainly isn’t anymore.
I distinctly remember my parents remarking at how much energy I had as a kid. I remember not understanding anyone who had no interest in constant sprinting and playtime; whereas now, when I walk through my door after a ten hour work day, shove off my jacket and consider lacing up for a run - I see the point they made 20 years ago. Four years ago, in the chaotic peak of our university revelry – we took absolute pride in our ability to wake up for 8:30am class after three long nights spent crawling the downtown strip and staking out in the campus pub. Now, we moan like elders if we have a meeting the morning after casual sit-down drinks. Needless to say, things change.
But only some things. Some things are weirdly ingrained in you to last forever – because of no obvious rhyme, reason, song, movie or influence. One that I’ve discovered in the last month, is how I have never - despite presumptions and warnings from many people who I’ve known – outgrown my bizarre obsession with the city. No amount of noise, subway grime, terrible sense of direction or homebody gene within me has ever made me question my infatuation with the idea of a roaring metropolis and every bit of wonder it has to offer.
I’ve only gotten bigger in the size of the city I’ve inhabited – starting quite small, transitioning to Ottawa and ending up in Toronto. A big part of me (the Billy Joel, Sex and the City, acid jazz loving weirdo within) was afraid that I would get here, after all of the obstacles and other opportunities which arose and kept me back – and would hate it. Years of poring over photos of Times Square, dreaming of vine entangled fire escapes and cradling the ambition to write overlooking a skyline that sparkles like a treasure chest could have been crushed from the first missed streetcar stop or realization that maybe I’m not cut out for the competitive industries, sense of anonymity or…well, any of it. Maybe the obsession would end up having been some idealistic phase of mine.
But despite relatives and Ottawa co-workers scoffing at the idea of the honking traffic jams and 2.5 million strangers roaming next to you – I think way back to how this hasn’t, and probably won’t ever, change for me. All signs point to this finally being the real deal. I enjoy the country as much as the next nut – days spent on a dock, treks through rocky wooded hills and cozying up next to a crackling cottage bonfire – but evidence of grade school creative writing centered around downtowns, stacks of skyscraper and big city photography books and playlists marked for those happy moments when a trip might involve passing a skyline, tell me I shouldn’t sell this longstanding romance with the big city short. Of course, I won’t be as naive as speed demon toddler and carousing 19 year-old Jess and say this will always be the case – but not a moment of regret, coupled with beautifully loud, dirty and crowded daily affirmations give me the feeling that this love affair has only just begun.
Where do you feel most at home? Everyone’s heart lies somewhere different, that’s for sure.
And with my verified love of the big city, comes my verified love of big city playlists:
*All photos by inanutshell.ca