A trip up north to the land of cities

For my birthday this year, I decided to go up to Fort Collins and Denver to spend time with family and friends. I had a wonderful time feeling special! But I am always shocked by the culture shock of returning to city life. The first thing I always notice is how bad the air begins to smell just north of Pueblo, because the air does not “smell” down here. That is also where the highway driving suddenly switches from a casual, comfortable feel to what I call “Get the hell out of my way!” driving. Luckily we missed any major traffic jams up north, but the only way I can explain it, from the perspective of one who never sits at stop lights or feels truly threatened by two-way traffic, is the roads are INTENSE up there! The cars are so close together on the roads and it feels scary.

The other culture shock for me is that up there we see so many young people! We don’t have a lot of them down here. The average age in our county, down by the New Mexico border, is around 54. Everything feels a lot more rushed and modern up there. There are of course hundreds of restaurants and shopping options compared to our county, where you can count the total restaurants on ten fingers.

Yes, we moved from one of the riches counties in Colorado to one of the poorest five years ago. My Dad (age 90) asked me how I was feeling now about that choice while we were up there and I had to think. As he pointed out, I had never lived in a place like this before. I have been cursed my whole life with the ability to see both sides of everything, and that can be truly exhausting. However, after a few days up north, I have to say I love not smelling the air or hearing traffic all the time. Our solar foothills home was the perfect temperature when we got here with no heat running the whole time we were gone. It felt wonderful to just walk in the door!

Sitting in my bed this morning and gazing out at the Spanish Peaks and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, that’s a tough act to follow. The silence down here is perfection for me now.

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7 thoughts on “A trip up north to the land of cities

  1. I too went up north for my birthday this year! Although I miss the grocery stores and restaurants (and some shopping), I’m pretty happy living the Walsenburg life at the moment right now. I spend a lot less too! 🙂 Happy Birthday to YOU!

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  2. Mine is a trip west, about 300 miles from the far SE corner of WA to Portland, Oregon where all three of my sisters live. The air there does’t usually smell but the traffic is really awful and the pace of life seems frantic. Still I enjoy the shopping though.

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  3. Back years ago, when I lived about 25 miles from a city out in rural Arkansas…this gal, who grew up in New York City, had mixed feelings. The country life can be wonderful and I would never go back (I don’t think) to living in New York City but….I found, I think, an alternative that works for me – a village of about 15,000 people in a county with some 100,000. people. It’s great when you find something that works for you and you do have wonderful, photogenic, views.

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