My tribute to Singapore as it turns 46 next Tuesday, August 9th. Happy National Day.
I miss you, Singapore.
I miss its green palm trees.
I miss it’s heat that made sweat drip down your back the moment you walked out the door.
I miss the gum-free sidewalks and spotless trains.
I miss the buses that were always on time.
I miss being able to put my bag down in a bar and not worry if someone picked it up.
I miss forty-five minute flights to the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Most of all, though, I miss the people.
During a recent trip to Austin, Texas– a trendy city in the US becoming more and more popular–I felt the excitement of another young, fast-paced, developing community. It was active, clean, energetic, and exciting. But what I realized was that I didn’t know anyone there, making it difficult to feel a connection to the city.
It’s funny how you sometimes need to remind yourself of things that were once felt so strongly.
Austin was transient, just like Singapore. This transience created an environment of people moving in and out of your life, not complementary to deep, sustainable relationships. This dynamic, above and beyond the other wonderful aspects of the city, was one of the underlying issues that made me return home.
No matter the place, it’s the people that make the support system, the network, your roots, that make you happy. Even in the most great citites, unless you have that, you will never be happy.
Unfortunately, when you move to a new city, it’s hard to enter peoples already established circles. And, more and more Gen Y seem to be moving to new cities, more often. If you’re in this place, do what a friend of mine who recently moved to San Fran did–find other NEW people in the city. They are your community also looking for what you’re looking for.
No matter what city you choose, don’t be foolish like I have thinking that a “great” city will make you happy. People ultimately are what make your experience in a city “great”. Find them.