Starting as small town girl
It’s mind boggling to think that York has been my home for almost 7 years now.
I came to this city as a fresh faced first year university student, newly liberated from the parental yoke after a gap year spent working at home.
Having grown up in a small town on the outskirts of the slightly more substantial/then rather grim city of Coventry, York and its pretty cobbled streets felt disproportionately large and daunting to my 19 year old self.
Over the next few years at University, my knowledge of the city grew alongside my confidence in exploring it.
My borders expanded as I discovered new roads and routes - a process which really accelerated in my third year as I inherited my Grandmother’s clapped out Suzuki and started to navigate my surroundings as a driver.
As York got seemingly smaller, I started to explore the surrounding cities - Leeds, Manchester and even the occasional trip to Hull. This was all very exciting, as there seemed to be so much more going on and a much more diverse range of people.
I’ve actually become quite a regular visitor to Manchester since meeting Des, to the point where I know all the Met routes and can confidently navigate around the city centre.
I’m always happy to come back home though, as I find the hustle and bustle of large cities quite overwhelming, despite the plethora of amazing food options and cultural events.
Alongside exploring cities, I increasingly found solace in the Yorkshire countryside, something that actually really helped whilst I was suffering from acute periods of depression/anxiety.
Being able to get away from everyone and everything was incredibly soothing, whether it was on a country path, along a coastline or out into the Moors. I fantasied about having a small cottage where I could retreat into a small garden perhaps, or write by a log fire - alone and safe in the middle of nowhere.
Whilst this was obviously an idealised and unrealistic dream, I knew there was something in me that was yearning for protection against the unending pace of modern life - the traffic, the constant noise and need to present a public face
Growing into a small city girl
Upon leaving university, it was clear that I wanted to stay in York. The graduate pull of London never really held much appeal - despite the fact that people seemed to be heading down there in droves.
(I’m happy to visit London - not so happy paying half my pay check to live in a shoe box.)
York was and still is my home. It has *almost* everything I could need in terms of transport links, entertainment and community, however sometimes it can feel a bit small, a bit backward looking.
Conversely it can also feel too big - as I write a whining moped is careering down my road, I can hear sirens in the distance. I sit in traffic as soon as I turn off my road in the morning on my way to work. I wade through drunk hordes every time I head into the city centre on a weekend evening (a particularly York centric problem at the moment).
It can just be too much.
I'm now at the extremely scary/adult/holy shit stage where I'm starting to think about buying my own house.
This is quite a big departure, as thinking about where I want to live hasn't really been a concern over the last few years, mainly because I have been absolutely broke and have had little choice in the matter.
Trawling through houses on various sites has promoted me to start asking questions about my life and where I want to be.
Because in my mind, I currently have three choices.
* Stay in York (a city I love to bits but am probably a bit too familiar with)
* Move to the surrounding countryside (less to do, more space to be).
* Move to a larger city - Leeds/Manchester (this would probably be disruptive when it comes to work).
The thing about growing up, so I've heard, is that you will have to make difficult choices.
Choosing a home is certainly is going to be one of mine.
Is there any harm in accepting my need for space and nature in my mid 20's? Do I need to be in walking distance of shops, resturants and the trappings of modern life?
Am I missing out on the fun and opportunities which a new, larger city might bring at this particularly free time of life? Would I be happier in a metropolitan buzz, with more to see/do and a wider, more diverse range of people to learn from?
Should I stay in the city I love, in the community I cherish and with friends I adore, or is this just limiting my horizons for the sake of being comfortable?
Whilst I know I have a lifetime to move around and try different modes of living, I do wonder if now is the time to be decisive.