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There is an old saying that a person can be alone in a crowd. This is true. In a busy, rushed atmosphere, people are faceless and nameless. Their surroundings are noticed for different reasons. Safety takes on different overtones, and crime and security are a menacing drill of rules. In more open areas, people take time to know a neighbor, respond to needs of those around them, and crime prevention is a group effort. People in small towns are not considered vagrant for sitting on a stoop and waving to a passerby is a gesture of friendship. Children are usually not relegated to day-care centers as several generations share living space. Chores are a spoken rule, not to be negotiated. Nature becomes a way of life and not an intrusion. Stars are not hidden by highrises and open windows embrace evening breezes.
Neither lifestyle is best if one you have is not what you want and who you are. If walking down a forest path is not your cup of tea, then regal appointments of brick and mortar are where you should be. People are as different in their needs and wants as there are pebbles on a beach. Some prefer shade, while others thrive in sun. Some are smooth and glassy, while others relish lines of yesterday’s history.
You must be true to yourself. You must know yourself and put out that olive branch of friendship from person you are to person you want to become. Your best friend’s needs and goals will not mirror yours exactly. Your mother and father’s achievements may or may not bring you same sense of pride. Your children may not understand your choices, and sometimes neither will you. But there is a tiny part of everyone’s heart that will let you know what right choice of living style is for you. Embrace it, welcome it, and follow it to best of your ability. If you don’t, an emptiness, a dissatisfaction, and a sadness will be your lifelong companion. Take time to sort out your feelings, design your own map, and then follow it religiously. If you find you made a mistake, go to drawing board and start all over again. The only time you will have failed is if you drown in your own mistakes instead of pulling yourself to shore.
©Arleen M. Kaptur 2002 All Rights Reserved
Numerous magazine and newspaper articles
Author: Searching for Austin James