The text was inspired and written the time I used to live in Berlin.
All over the world, there are fancy big cities, where people think living there shoud be cool and exciting. Yes, in a way it is alluring, but still there are daily problems there, which need to be discussed and solved.
Since I moved to Berlin and considering that I grew up on an island somewhere in the western Greece, I realized more than before, why people pay high prices for their vacation and especially when it comes to nice places located somewhere in the nature. Thus, when we – the people who grew up in the nature – may laugh about these people paying a fortune in order to spend their holiday in places near the sea or somewhere in the countryside and near the mountains, we should probably spend some years living in a big urban city, where the body’s energy reserves start dying in the first 5 minutes one steps outside his house door. Yes, living in modern fancy cities isn’t always that fancy. It’s even more funny, when actually going outside the streets and asking people about the things they don’t like while living in a big city, the majority will more or less name the same things.
But to be honest, I started writing this article on impulse and without really planning it after struggling with one – in my opinion always – of the most important and basic things in all human beings lifes: accommodation. It’s a very usual, I would even say it’s a normal, situation here in the fancy big city, where I currently reside in, living for some months in a cool flat somewhere in Neukölln, then the next months somewhere in Kreuzberg and afterwards the universe knows where else. Living like a modern nomad may basically not sound that bad at all, but let me please explain in my point of view, what’s actually happening in human behaviours and lifes: Consider that most people here share a flat with one, two, three or more people because of the high flat prices (which by the way increase more and more every year). Therefore it’s usual living for some months with two or three people, then the next months with one and pick a lottery ticket the next time to tell you with how many in the future. The people’s combination is always changing. Of course I’m not claiming that meeting new people is a bad thing in life, but living and sharing a house with many different people is very different than hanging outside with people for some hours, drinking a few beers. There is a completely different context there, a different scenario and compostion, a different background and by far other conditions one starts these relationships. But let’s not become too specific by analysing people’s relationships through their common living. Let’s just focus in general on this constant changing accommodation places as a phenomenon.
In this article I’m not trying to claim or prove that living in a fixed place for a long time is better than changing places, where one lives – though I admit that the article’s title clearly predisposes to a very specific view and that I clearly prefer having one fixed place as a reference point and move constantly outside this reference point, knowing that I can always return there. So, what I’m only trying to do, is first describe this phenomenon and then – whether I want it or not – place myself and express my point of view as part of this phenomenon.
In this point I have to also mention that my view on the topic changed after having the chance to live for one year in a camper, so I realized that having a fixed place to live, does not necessary mean living in a house.
I have no idea, what makes people happy. Therefore I have no idea, how people prefer living. However and through my very personal experience while looking for different flats and places to stay, I couldn’t really detect a positive point of this whole searching process. It was mostly a waste of time, where one had to present himself – not necessarily as who he or she really is, but very often as someone else, just to make sure there are higher possibilities to be accepted by the other people living in the flat – and run from the one city’s side to the other. Imagining also that one is working, it should be fun spending the evening by checking out new flats and meeting new people with very different expectations from their own lifes, way of living and of course anyway their very own pace of life. It’s not me being misanthropic, it’s just how things simply are and if someone says that this is an entertaining thing to do for a longer time (looking for places to stay), then I would propose that there are some other nice things out there to do for entertainment. I’m still trying to explain to myself this very vivid picture that emerged somewhere in my head, already very soon when entering for the first time this “searching for a flat” process: I’m walking through the tight alleys of a chicken market. The lights are something more than intense. They’re falling on the hanging chickens so that I’m able to see every damn detail on their dead skin. The chicken’s heads are missing – heads don’t matter anymore, everyone – everything – is the same. I then realise that this whole “picking out” process is just a stupid illusion. In the end one just needs a chicken.
I’m very much aware that this may be a hard and an extreme scene to present there, but still it’s an interpretation. It’s a feeling. Even if the rents continue to increase and people won’t be able living alone in their own flats, they should be at least honest about their expectations and the way they enjoy living. That’s one very good way for starting and solving this tragic problem of accommodation in big modern cities, where most of the people share a flat mainly because of financial reasons. Being honest and having the abiity to discuss without necessarily expecting something – practically being a good listener, means eventually saving time and therefore enjoying a better quality of life where each individual has the opportunity of being more close to it’s genuine side. Certainly it’s wonderful living with other people and building relationships, but this constant flat changing won’t even let people create something is it as individuals or as a part of a group. I furthermore believe that this phenomenon strongly contributes to neurological difficulties, affecting the nerves causing constant distraction and anxiety. The affection rate varies of course from person to person, but still changing constantly the people one lives with must somehow affect the way a person behaves and reacts.
In the end we will all have to watch out that this mobility and all these endless possibilities won’t end up toxic for our daily life and that the quality and functions of our brains won’t decrease dramatically, because of the constant distraction and need for reorganisation of our goals.