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Clearly There’s Something Wrong With Me

As I drove to the airport from my visit home, for the first time, I realized how  many things I’ve missed. When you grow up in a commercialized/industrialized environment, your senses are muted by the roaring of crowds hustling about the city, the thunder of honking horns as drivers impatiently wait their turn to move in a sea of traffic, the constant humming of cars speeding by on the highways. Instead of mountains, we are conditioned to marvel and awe at skylines adorned by skyscrapers. The streets lined with popular retailers are our rivers. Fashion malls are our lakes. These are the unfortunate places we learned to feel “safe”; our “natural habitats”.

 

We are raised by luxury and convenience. They have spoiled us in the worst ways by feeding not only our needs, but by giving in to our every want and desire. It comes to no surprise to hear someone say “I don’t like being outside; it’s dirty”; yet, in densely populated city streets overdressed in indifference, perfumed by trash and decorated with grime are the very places of refuge and rejuvenation.

As I spent more time immersing myself in more natural settings, connecting with the woods, mountains and the ocean, I truly understood why she is “Mother Nature”. In the wild, we’re completely exposed and vulnerable to all elements and creatures that inhabit the area. Our senses are heightened, paying great attention to any sights, sounds and smells of possible danger lurking about. However, we are simultaneously gifted by true beauty in its essence: in the ways the trees bend towards the sun, how fresh the air smells, in the way the breeze lightly brushes your cheek, or how refreshing it feels to jump into a crystal clear lake. These, I’ve discovered, are the moments that are the most authentic; the ones that revitalize me; the times that ground me; that feed my soul.

 

You don’t exactly get those in the city. From my experience, the city brings you an overwhelming intensity impossible to experience in nature. Your senses are constantly bombarded with bright lights, the unnatural sounds of honking cars impatiently trying to get through, the feeling of being nudged by strangers rushing to get by on an overcrowded sidewalk, and the fragrant blend of garbage and a hint of urine in the air. Most city dwellers enjoy the “energy” they feel in such a heavily populated area; the hustle and bustle of it all. When it’s your every day, it becomes too much. When you’re forced to deal with it on a daily basis, you learn to adapt to such a tense atmosphere. What most people don’t realize is it changes you. This is the perfect environment to breed a society of “zombies”. Next time you’re in the city, take a look around. Look at the people who work there and watch their faces. Do you see the spark of life in their eyes? Or do you see indifference and apathy?