As I’ve been trawling the Perth city streets in search of a new place to live, I’ve thought a lot about what makes a place, a suburb or an area really desirable or not.
Actually, scratch out the word ‘thought’ and insert ‘drawn blood’.
I’ve agonised too much. I’m always in search of elusive permanence I guess, and the older I get the more I fret.
In Perth where you live depends a lot on your own preferences because we’re lucky to have so many choices; north or south of the Swan River, and near to the beach or not, each decision throwing up its own set of provisos and considerations, commutes to the city and the different (read expensive or more expensive) rental prices.
Anyway it’s made me distill my thoughts into what’s important and what’s not, and being able to chuck out the rest as way of compromise in order to find somewhere we’re going to be happy living and putting our feet up in the city. (At heart I think we are country bumpkins.)
We’ve considered the options of downsizing to a town house close to where it’s all happening which would mean getting rid of a lot of our stuff, or renting a furnished apartment in the city centre which would mean paying to keep most of our stuff in storage, and we’ve considered living in a house further out of the city within a pretty location with a nice view where we could unpack all our furniture.
When children have left home people our age might begin wondering about what we really need or want for the next phase of our lives – is it the comfort of a family home, or is it more freedom from domestic responsibility with time perhaps to travel?
I’ve thought a lot about these things, and maybe many of you might be in the same boat as you consider selling a house and moving to something more suited to the two of you, or perhaps you’re moving because of a job change or to be closer to relatives or perhaps yo’ve upsized because of the grandies.
Anyway, I’ve been trawling the internet and pounding the streets for much longer than I care to admit and I know we cannot have all the things I’d like within our budget.
So as in most things in life, compromise is required and I believe that finding the right compromise is part and parcel of the art of living the good life and deciding what’s really important in life … I mean like, er …
We can’t have it all, can we? Knowing that and being able to put into practice a level of acceptance, puts us well on the way to being in a position to plan and embrace new adventures.
But at the heart of the matter it seems with this all this searching for the most suitable house I’m actually missing another important point entirely.
Archbishop Tutu has said, “We exist in a bundle of belonging.”
Where the good life is lived
Hugh Mackay, a social researcher and author of 16 books including The Good Life has this to say: “The good life is lived at the heart of a thriving community amongst people we trust and in an environment of mutual respect.
Here’s a link to the Good Life on Amazon – it’s seriously good if you ever question sociological stuff (I’m an Amazon affiliate, so if you buy it I’ll be able to buy half a glass of wine at today’s prices) Yes, really 🙂
The deepest and sweetest truth about human nature is that we are cooperative creatures. Like so many other species on earth we need each other, we are hopeless in isolation. We need people to support us, sustain us and protect us.
He says we are tribe animals, herd animals with a need to nurture and sustain the communities that sustain us.
Do you know your neighbours?
If I’m to be completely honest with you I didn’t really get to know our neighbours in our last house – at least not to the point of having long chats with them. More fool me.
According to Hugh Mackay it’s not just sad but biologically serious when people say, “I don’t know my neighbours” or “I feel like a stranger in my own street,” or “the neighbourhood doesn’t work like a community in the way I remember from years ago,” which is kind of how I felt.
“There is something special, potentially magical for our ability to get on with people we may not choose to be friends with – like the people next door – they don’t have to be people you like, or share your opinions or religion, but your social and moral maturity depends on being able to create a community of people who may not choose to share the same space.” HughMackay
Perhaps it has to do with what’s happening now in contemporary society as the technological, economical and social changes redefine and reshape the way we live.
I agree with Hugh Mackay that most of these changes will have the tendency to de-stabilise local communities and fragment family and make us more than ever able to live behind close doors and feel isolated, discluded or alienated.
Yet, how lucky I personally feel to have my blog and the community that surrounds it. I rely on it and love showing up everyday to see who’s been commenting, or who’s started a conversation on the Lifestyle Fifty facebook page. Seems like a bit of an conundrum because I know lots of other bloggers too who derive great comfort from their online tribes.
Looking a little deeper I’ve been feeling quite a lot of isolation and alientation in the city. My small-town networks have disappeared, my friendship groups have disintegrated and it’s up to me to forge new allegiances in new ways.
Time to Take Action
So, Note to self – I must not retreat into Blogdom completely, I must get to know my neighbours and take up a hobby or sport that involves being with other people in real life.
Oh God, in order to be sociable I may have to take up golf. And with my ball skills that would be a danger to everyone 😉 Lol!
So what do you think … in order to live ‘the good life’, it’s not where you live or what your house is like, but how you live? What do you think living the good life entails?