Tuesday, April 1, 2014

City Mouse or Country Mouse?

I've been having fantasies about moving into a place with actual rooms and maybe even a yard. I'd love an office, I'd like to be able to do dishes at night after the Pepper goes to sleep, it would be nice to have some grass to play on. But, right now we are in a loft in the middle of an urban area. So, to combat my longings I've been reminding myself of all the great things about living in a loft in downtown Los Angeles:
  • Family time: D and I both work a lot so it is nice that when we are all home together we're actually all together. Since we have no real rooms dividing up our space, if one of us is cooking or folding laundry we can still participate in the playing or the book reading. Even though we are growing out of this place, it has been nice to have that intimacy and proximity while the Pepper was so little.
  • Less upkeep: Having a small space meant that it was necessary for D and I to limit the amount of baby stuff we had (actually, all the stuff we have!). This is maybe one of the best things we could have done. We weren't overwhelmed by the baby gear, and it wasn't hard to keep the place somewhat tidy during those crazy newborn months. We're still a fan of keeping things simple and I hope that if we do move to a house some day we can maintain our minimalist lifestyle.
  • Access: We can access so many things so easily. We have 3 parks in walking distance from us, we can easily take a bus to places like the Natural History Museum, and there are lots of restaurants and stores just blocks away. Even though we don't have a lot of space of our own, it's so easy for us to go outside I never feel trapped (and the California weather helps with that too). One of my new favorite things to do on a weekend morning is get up with the Pepper, walk to a local 24/hr restaurant to have breakfast, and then walk down the street to one of the little local parks. We can go for as long or as short as we want because going out isn't that much of an investment (we just need to get our shoes and sweaters on and go!). Plus, if I realize we're out of milk or need more bananas for the Pepper's breakfast I just need to walk a block, something I've often done in my pajamas.
  • Neighbors: My favorite thing about being downtown is the people. Everywhere we've lived downtown we've really gotten to know our neighbors and neighborhoods. Some of our neighbors can even remember both D and I before we started dating 8 years ago so they have seen us create our family over all these years. And I think the communal aspect has been great for our little one. She's a very social creature and she loves all the people she gets to interact with in a day. Our nanny takes her out during the day and they do their rounds which means visiting our local restaurants and shops. She has friends all along our block who know her and get upset with me if she hasn't been brought by to visit in awhile. If you believe that it takes a village (which I do), then the Pepper will certainly benefit from our little downtown village.
I believe that almost all things have costs and benefits. I'm starting to think that our lives are shifting such that maybe the costs of being where we are no longer outweigh the benefits. But I can't deny that my last 8 years downtown have been wonderful and that includes the first year of the Pepper's life. Instead of focusing on the challenges, I'll continue to try to be thankful for all the great things about our lives.

Image of the the Pepper at one of our local parks from my Instagram.

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