Home > 'Self Help', Misc, Travel > Can we live the Ideal Life Anywhere?

Can we live the Ideal Life Anywhere?

This topic sprung up in a philosophy seminar I had last week, and with the coincidence of Scott Young writing something about this just a couple of days ago, it got the old brain juices flowing.

As I read him, Scott believes there’s an ideal city for us. Our character may suit the romanticism of Paris more than the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Each city holds different things for each of us, with the challenge being to find the city that suits us most fully, in order for us to reach the peak of enjoyment and satisfaction in life.

I want to go against this idea though. Consider London, believed be fast paced, exciting and vibrant. Who would suit this kind of place more than a fast paced, vibrant person, you may ask. But it must be remembered that all the places mentioned in this debate are colossal in size, and so it’s simply too quick to say that one place is unsuitable for certain characters, yet perfect for others. Labelling a city with just one characteristic is like saying all Christians are homophobic, or no Caucasians can dance.

Take me for instance. I consider myself a pretty laid back person as I hate hustle and bustle. I don’t like going to night clubs; I much prefer quieter, more relaxed places, where I can just sit and ‘chill out’; this is my cup of tea. So, according to Scott, London simply isn’t for me.

But I think it could be for me. London is so big, and so leviathan in so many ways, that although it might be difficult, I could, given the effort, find the ideal area for me. When I was in London just a couple of months ago, I was shown around Brick Lane; a completely chilled out, quiet and bohemian area of London. Perfect. And what’s more; I managed to find this place in the middle of one of the most fast paced cities on the planet.

This is not just an exception to the rule that Scott seems to be advocating. Any large city is floating in the same boat; New York. Sydney, Toyko, Chicago, Manchester, Berlin, Paris. The common denominator in all these places is that they are so extensive that they attract people of infinite characters. There are areas in each of these cities that can satisfy any desire, whim, want, craving and itch.

I’m not denying any in way that each city will indeed shape our lives in different ways, but this need not cloud our judgement on where we choose to be. Other things being equal, Berlin would spoil me with bohemian areas and quaint cafes, and so looks perfect on paper. But so too can areas of London, and New York. In all of these locations my life will be pushed in a similar direction; toward the live music and literary culture, toward a more social realm. There are areas in New York I could enjoy riding my bike just as much as I could in the cycle oriented Amsterdam. At the same time, there are areas of all these cities that would push me a completely opposite direction.

So, it seems that although some cities may suit us more than others, the major factor seems to be where within those cities we choose to be. Many of us would be equally happy in an area of Beijing as we would in an area of Madrid. They key is to find the area, and the kind of area that suits us most. In this sense we can be truly happy and exultant in almost any large, developed city (provided we’re a city kind of person), and we need not feel that relationships with friends and families are preventing us from leading the ideal life we could have if only we lived in that perfect city, for, fortunately, this ideal city doesn’t exist.

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Categories: 'Self Help', Misc, Travel Tags: ,

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