Maybe its because I just got back from a trip to Chicago, or maybe its my age and upbringing, but I think I've learned I'm more of a small town person. I used to think I wanted to live in a big city and know tons of people and go to fancy places where everything is beautiful and expensive. I wanted to be somewhere where big things are happening and you can get anything, at any time of the day or night. I loved, and still do, the city at night with all the big buildings and the lights and people inside windows either laughing inside nightclubs or entertaining in their luxury apartments. I always imagined them having intelligent conversations, or entertaining anyway, and I thought I'd fit in nicely to that scene. This was how I thought when I was 22 or so. Well, when you get a bit older, things change. I know what you're thinking. Yes, some things change for the worse. I've put on a few (ahem...) pounds, I have a few less hairs and I guess I get tired a little easier than I used to, but in the last 15 years I've also learned some things, both about the world and about myself.
I've learned that what is beautiful, is relative, and you can find 'beautiful' almost anywhere if you know how to look. I've learned expensive means nothing and that clothes are for covering your body and feeling comfortable, not for promoting Ralph Lauren. I've learned that, for me, fancy and expensive is a distraction from more real notions of quality and value. I've learned that entertaining and intelligent conversations at bars and parties are actually rarely so, and that great conversations can also occur beside a humble campfire at the lake, or in a smallbackwood bar and grill with just you, me and the bartender in attendance. I've learned that if you think you really want something, and its 3 in the morning, you maybe don't really need it. I've learned that glitz and glamour don't fit as well as I thought they would, and that after all I prefer a flannel shirt and jeans, and that's me, and if you don't like that, I'm cool with that too.
For this reason I guess its good that I live where I do and I have access to the awesome, authentic and classic American small towns that surround Greater Lansing. Small shops, mom and pop diners, dive bars, little festivals, small farm stands with strawberries and sweet corn and the classic ice cream shop on the corner. This real space and time still takes people at face value and brings an authenticity to human involvement that I've learned I simply must have. Get out and explore Greater Lansing's surrounding communities like Williamston, Mason, St. Johns, Haslett and Eaton Rapids and see if you don't agree that a romantic walk with your sweetheart at sunset alongside a field of mint doesn't rival a date in Times Square.