Urban Life or Rural Life …


This nonstop rain has me sitting here, staring at the screen, wondering what to write.  There are a few options which I have discarded for falling under the general heading of negative or unpleasant.  There are no words trying to gnaw their way out or compelling me to sit here but I feel the need to write something anyway.

Watching Charlie Rose the other night, they were talking about urbanization and mentioned how several years ago, about the time I moved out of the city, humanity passed that inflection point where more people now live in urban rather than rural environments.  That somehow struck me as interesting.  I grew up amidst the suburban sprawl of my generation, in university towns as I have said before.  My adult life was spent however in Bangkok, a heavily populated city, even in the seventies, but with little resemblance to the present day, Big Mango.

Inexperienced and alone, I matured in this massive sprawl of humanity, and witnessed the growth of Bangkok from low rise shophouses and klongs, to a high rise jungle intertwined with a braided maze of congested traffic.  As the city became more modern, so did I.  I quickly adjusted to living in urban boxes and using public transport.  Young and single, I delegated food, laundry and various menial tasks to others, allowing me the freedom to be out and about and as irresponsible as I dared.

As the pace of the city quickened, I found myself matching the tempo, often returning to my little box only to sleep and change clothes.  So even if one excludes the availability of jobs, I can still relate to the draw of urban life.  It certainly held my attention for quite some time.  Something in me changed along the way, however.  First I suppose was getting married at forty-five and transitioning from being single and unencumbered, to being responsible for and to another individual.

Even then, we spent the first ten years of our life together living in the city and traveling much of the year.  Our travels awakened in us a deep almost primal lust for nature, which tainted our view of city living after a while.  With the selling of my parents ever welcoming home and their move into a retirement home, I suddenly found myself without refuge and the emotional shelter that family home had unwittingly provided.

As much as I loved city living, it didn’t fill that whole which had gradually developed in my life.  I found myself yearning for space, comfort and the things I had possessed in my youth.  So as the rest of the world was moving to the city in ever increasing numbers, I or should I say we, decided to move out.  Reading this blog you will no doubt have a clear understanding of how much I love living here in the village.  Still this raises questions in my mind.

Are my wife and I somehow unique, or are all these people rushing to the cities, one day going to want to leave these cities?  If they do, where will they go?  One suspects that returning to a rural setting will eventually become an option for only a select few.  With the world population going from 3 to 7 billion in my lifetime, it looks as though urban life will become not just the norm but a necessity for humanity as we move forward.