I often fantasize about “dropping out” of the conventional American lifestyle, giving up a 9-5 grind that is really more like 7am-6pm for most of us, and going to grind out a living far away from traffic, people, long commutes, loud city noises,
I am very, very tempted to run off to a small couple of acres in the country, to live at the end of a dirt road away from the world.
And who knows, I probably will someday.
But right now, I can’t.
Not because of my dedication to work or my house or anything like that.
It would just feel wrong to me.
I can’t just leave the rest of humanity behind to suffer.
While more and more people of my generation and beyond are dropping out of city life and moving back to more rural lifestyles – or moving more urban to avoid being obligated to cars and mortgages on top of crushing student debt – there are more who cannot leave. Or don’t want to leave, but don’t want to live in a stressful, noisy, isolated, both physically and emotionally polluting and toxic environment either. Long hours, draining work, bills, obligations that lead grown-ups (and now children) to have leisureless and playless lives.
It does not have to be this way.
We can make our cities more fun, more playful, more engaging.
Somebody has to stay and fight. To inspire others.
I would rather stay and fight the powers, be a voice for change. To change what we’re doing from the inside out. To seed bomb old vacant lots that otherwise collect trash and weeds. Fight for green spaces throughout cities, from suburban to industrial neighborhoods. Fight for parks. Fight for parades. Fight for a culture shift of fear and isolation to one of joy and collaboration. Knowing your city, knowing your neighbors. Fight for the feeling that you have time and are allowed to enjoy your city, your neighborhood, your backyard, your life. Fight for the right to spend time with your kids on the weekend without guilt!
I am by no means a perfect example. I have a lot of building to do for myself. But I feel that while I build I’d love to build others up with me. Build a city. Build a playground. Build a full life.
I want to show that no matter where you live you can make a change, you can make choices.
I am going to stay and fight.
I am going to fight for play. For leisure. For space both physically and culturally for play, music, art, science, exploration. For a more balanced life. For a life worth living, for all of us.