What is a great place to live, work and play? Why?

October 29, 2013 / , ,

What is a great place to live, work and play? Why?

“What is a great place to live, work and play?”  I contemplated from which perspective I should respond to this simplistic question. Should I write through my eyes as a mother, an educator, a professional, a humanist, an entrepreneur, an environmentalist, a neighbor, or a dreamer? In the end, it doesn’t really matter which of these perspectives I write from, for each seeks the same home. The truth is, I have deliberated about what defines a “great place to live” for years, as I’ve searched for a raw connection to a place since leaving my childhood town. My desire to find home is stronger than ever now, as I have two young sons, a full time career, a commute, school drop-off/pick-up routines and extracurricular activities that consume most days. These things control the daily ebb and flow of life, for me, and all parents out there in the abyss of the daily grind.  Frankly, it’s an exhausting ritual, but also cherished, and the epitome of a great place to live, work and play, wouldn’t change the responsibilities themselves. But the holy grail of home will change the routine, pace, connectivity, and the humanism of it all. Let me try to paint a picture that allows you a glimpse into the vision.

Whitehall.75The alarm drone resonates off the walls in our cozy, modest home and we’re all rested.  No need for waking up prematurely to rush all little and big people alike out the door in a hurried frenzy, as life is organized compactly now.  We enjoy breakfast together at our wooden kitchen table, rather than in our mini-van. Commuting today consists of a brisk morning walk as a family. Jack attends the neighborhood elementary school, two blocks away. I was able to be intricately involved in the planning of the school and believe that its mission, community staff, the balance between standardization and creativity, and the commitment to growing young minds, creates an ideal environment for children to learn. Just across the green, communal open space is the preschool, where Vincent spends his weekdays.  A calm drop-off, with my boys close together in proximity, and in the hands of trusted neighbors, sets a peaceful and productive tone for the day. The classmates they spend their days with are the same children they play with after school, compete against in little league, and will one day reunite with on breaks home from college.

The Waters 05.07My entrepreneurial dreams were fostered and recognized by this town. My workday is filled with productive and meaningful contributions, from a prime location on Main Street.  My grocery store trip and workout at the gym during lunch are embraced as small miracles in my busy life. I meet my boys right after school, with no after-school daycare arrangements necessary.  I waste no time alone in a barren state, during a congested commute. We walk home, eat a quick dinner and today, with our evening time, volunteer to help set-up for the upcoming town fall festival.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My neighbors and I are far from idealists, and can’t evade the struggles and heartaches that often accompany life.  However, we all hold onto the same binding, humanistic and common thread. In our town, we build, create and take ownership of our own realities. We have been empowered by a place, rather than stifled by it.  We unite here to make an impact, leave a legacy and create memories in our great place to live, work and play with the people we cherish.

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