That's one way of living in an ugly city

How to Live in an Ugly City

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Let’s say that you’re like me and that you live in an ugly city and for whatever reason, you cannot move out. So, you’re stuck in a big city. This means that in order to survive, you need to turn your surrounding space into a pleasant place. 

I love cities with beautiful architecture, populated by civilised people who have active social lives. I’ve visited several such cities. It’s very easy to have a good time in a city like that. All you do is step out of the house and then the city seems to drive you forward all by itself. It doesn’t take much effort to make your day interesting. The city itself is a work of art and you find yourself surrounded by art. The city itself stokes your creativity and you feel like you can do anything, the sky’s the limit. It puts a spring in your step. 

I don’t live in a city like that. If I want to have a pleasant day, I must give 200% of my energy. It’s not a nice city. Here’s some advice on how to survive in an ugly city:

Travel Often

If you can’t move, travel more often. Here’s a story. A couple of years ago, I was stuck in a boring, dead end job that forced me to stay in my city. I had a 2 week vacation once a year and that was the only time when I could travel. Every trip would make me very happy, however, 2 weeks wasn’t nearly enough. Therefore, I started thinking about how to change my situation. I wasn’t born in a large family, so I have to work, something which has bothered me ever since I was little. So, I’d have to find a job that allows me to travel, i. e. a job that doesn’t require me to stay in one place. At the time, I had no qualifications for such a job. I started researching the labour market and it became apparent to me that the kind of job I wanted was that of an IT professional. I took a year-long course in IT and managed to find a job working from home, or more specifically, from wherever I want, as long as it has an internet connection. That’s how my dream partially came true. I can travel a lot more and have longer trips. 

Find the Good Places

No matter how ugly your city, it’ll always have at least a handful of people like you. Some of them surely own a shop, a pub or a salon. Spending time with them will make living in your city a lot more bearable. If a new place opens and it looks interesting, give it a chance, go in, maybe it’s one of the places for you. 

I’ve had such an experience. A few years ago, a new coffee shop opened in my city. As I was passing by, I was drawn in by the ambience. It’s difficult to put in words, but somehow I found it civilised, with mild jazz music playing. I went in and ordered coffee to go. While I was waiting for the coffee, I saw a very pleasant lady standing next to the counter. She turned out to be the owner of the shop. We started speaking about some random subject and it turned out that she’s excellent company. I became a regular and every week I’d go to her shop at least twice a week until it unfortunately closed. However, we stayed in touch with the lady and we still see each other for lunch and coffee. 

Have Dinner Parties With Friends

It’s always a pleasant experience to gather with friends at your house or one of your friend’s houses. I remember a couple of years ago, we all decided to have a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s house. My husband and I were in charge of food, so we decided to have a Greek evening. We found a couple of recipes, bought the ingredients, went to our friend’s house and we began the large cookout. I remember having fun all throughout the process. We made enough to feed an army. We had good wine, good food, good friends. Our host even found a disco ball for our improvised dance floor. With more events like this, you can make your life in an ugly city downright bearable. Maybe you’ll find a use for one of our recipes.

Feel the rhythm 

Play music. I don’t usually play music, but whenever I feel tense and stressed, it’s one of the main ways in which I relax. It’s better to find an online radio that fits you, that way you can avoid the stress of deciding which song to play next, as on YouTube or Spotify. I have 2 favourite radios and I let them play in the background at a low volume. After the first hour or so, I usually feel better. My mood bounces back and I feel more creative. Music is medicine for the soul and can take you to all sorts of beautiful places. 

Beautify Your Surroundings

Turn your house, your apartment or even just your room into a comfortable sanctuary from the ugliness of the outside room. Fill it (or empty it) with things that make you feel good. Personally, I prefer that my surroundings breathe and not be smothered by too many objects. I like minimalism and practicality. After every difficult and stressful day, I find peace in my room which is rich in green colours. Green is known to have a calming effect and it certainly has a calming effect on me. 

At the end of the day, even an ugly city isn’t a bad place to live, so long as you can build your own little world which you can share with good people. All you’ll need to do is expend more energy and to be creative about it and you’ll survive living in an ugly city. 

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