Things can always get worse.

It’s a saying that doesn’t exactly imply optimism, is it? I find that certain sayings, no matter how you twist them about, no matter what context you use them in, they always seem to pepper a sentence with too much spice. For once though, I found this sentiment actually useful — perspective shrunk down into a few words, regarding cities and my satisfaction of living in them.

I recently spent a week in a smallish town of about eighty-thousand people, which admittedly isn’t that small considering the even tinier hamlets I passed through on the Greyhound, little clusters of humanity dropped onto the map in seemingly random locations. However, comparing it to the three-hundred thousand retirees, newlyweds, and hipsters all awkwardly cohabiting my island city though, and the relative emptiness is quickly apparent.

The thought of being stranded in such a place, forced to live and scratch out a living there, leaves me panicked. Which is odd, because I used to regard my own city with similar distaste, that it was too small, dry of opportunity, each person too similar to the next. On returning, I’m not so bitter — it’s amazing how a change of perspective can also adjust your perception at the same time.