Before I lived in downtown Houston I lived in a small suburban town about 25 minutes away. I would only come into the city for special events such as concerts or musicals. The idea of living in the city seemed so bold, glamorous, and out of reach. As I got older, I grew more curious and ventured more often downtown and began to learn my way around. I think I had a lot of misconceptions of the city, one of which was the safety. Its really all up to learning your way around. There are plenty of areas that are more than safe and wonderful to live an visit within the city.
I think that is probably one of the most stressful and foreign things you have to adjust to transitioning from suburban to urban life is that you are sharing your “backyard” with… a whole lot of people. In a suburban neighborhood, the day-to-day traffic usually consists of the people living there, in a city there are; lost tourists, business workers Monday thru Friday, other city dwellers, all buzzing around so paying attention is imperative. The traffic running through your “neighborhood” fluctuates all the time. Also, there are many events that occur which require closing off of main streets, so it is always best to have alternate routes ready!
As for transportation, I still rely on my personal vehicle the majority of the time. Houston is very spread out so you cannot walk everywhere in the city, and although public transportation has increased, it isn’t always the most time efficient, or convenient. The metro rail is great for most short distances from the medical center to midtown, or downtown, and catching an Uber is pretty easy, but if you have a car you will more than likely be using it.
I personally love the city life. There are many places you can visit within walking distance and there is almost always a sporting event to see. I can say I am no longer intimidated by the alternate direction streets and tall buildings, I can call them home. I have also learned to not be afraid of elevators. Living in a high rise requires multiple daily rides in an elevator and yes, after living in a high rise for almost 4 years getting stuck in once was bound to occur. (Thankfully it was not for very long, and honestly is not that scary of an experience.)
Next, get ready for unexpected and random noise interruptions all of the time. Cars buzzing and screeching, horns honking, planes humming, workers drilling, police, firetrucks, and ambulances whaling are all sounds you are bond to hear on a daily basis. For me, this is not a bother. I like to have noise in my life. I require noise to sleep, and some sort of lighting, so when I lived in the suburbs I always had my television on. I guess I just needed the city to sleep because now I don’t require that. There is light from the buildings and noise from the streets to keep me content.
I would honestly say that city life is not for everyone. Privacy does not exist outside of your dwelling and you must learn to reduce the size of your personal space, but for the right person it can be amazing. You have the opportunity to discover what makes your city so wonderful and can appreciate all it has to offer.
I am so blessed to have the opportunity to live inside of the city. It has helped me with navigation, conquering my anxieties over elevators, learning how to share space with others, and understanding the lifeblood of the city and all it has to provide.
Until next time <3