|Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst New York|
( A suburb of Buffalo, N.Y.)
and has worked in the ophthalmology
field of medicine for nearly 40 years
or a small fish in a big pond? This has been the question for many decades between my husband and myself. My husband and I met as teenagers, on a blind date; he was from Los Angeles and I was born and raised in Buffalo. Two worlds meeting and blending
We have been married for over 40 years and have lived in both cities. As a young married couple we were attracted to the exciting large city life filled with more opportunity and excitement than the small town of Buffalo. Back in the 1970's Buffalo was not making the resurgence it has now begun; jobs were not plentiful although the cost of living has always been reasonable in this area.
We returned to Buffalo from Los Angeles in time to raise our two children here in the safe and controlled environment of Buffalo and the suburbs. Many say that one can drive through Buffalo to any area in the suburbs within 20 minutes and it is hard to get lost in our city.
The 1980's were a good time to bring up a family here; children felt safe and the quality of life was good. As our children grew up having experienced numerous trips out west to visit family, our youngest at the age of 25, decided to seek his future in a larger city so he returned to the West coast to set down roots. Since then, we have made many trips to visit with him and have experienced the “big” city in a whole new light.
The neighborhoods have become much more populated and the traffic much more congested with impatient drivers and clogged traffic lanes. The pollution hangs like a curtain over the city on a warm day and makes the breathing that much more difficult. I find myself resentful wasting time siting in
lanes of traffic when I could be doing something more enjoyable and constructive. People are much more impersonal in a large town; wary of strangers, many people just pass each other by in a store without a simple smile or greeting.
The cost of living is more than triple for housing along with food and extras; jobs are very competitive to secure.
My husband and I miss spending more time with my son but after 40 years I rarely hear from my husband any longer “should we move back to L.A.”? After a week or two of visiting, enduring the traffic and high cost of living, we have decided to keep our roots in place.
We may spend several weeks at a time visiting the concrete jungle but no longer yearn for the hustle, excitement and crowded streets as we did as young people. We now enjoy the conveniences of a small town; the ability to jump in the car and stop at the store to pick up groceries that are a few minutes away
We appreciate the open “space” between our homes in the suburbs and don't feel the need for a concrete fence for
privacy that is a given in a larger city. We appreciate the affordability of living in our smaller town and the clear and clean air after a good rain that others yearn for in a large bustling city.
I never really understood what it meant to be a big fish in a small pond until I reached my 50's and then it hit me; what kind of quality of life is there if the day is spent swimming up stream all day only to rest and repeat the same swim the next day...
As I am lucky enough to add birthday candles to my age, I more and more appreciate the serenity in a quiet, peaceful day
where I can recoup, recharge and reflect on those things that being me happiness.
Hana Hou, (Encore)