I’ve really been thinking about Austin Kleon’s post, Find a New City, which I also included in the last Lunchtime Reads link roundup. In it, he references Patti Smith saying that New York has priced itself out of being an option for young, creative people who want to do something weird and potentially not lucrative. His and Patti’s advice? Find a new city. One where the rents are low, and you can afford to live while still having time to work on whatever it is that gives you life. “Stay out of debt, live somewhere cheap, make something happen.”
I recognize that I’m privileged enough, especially working in tech, to know that I could move to New York or Austin or Portland or Nashville or Seattle if I wanted to, but we chose this. We chose owning property for a fraction of what it would have cost even in Philly. We chose to be near farmland, and a little nearer to family. We chose this sweet little city that often feels more like a neighborhood to us, post-Philly. We chose this as home for now.
My favorite American story: we lived where nothing was happening and we made something happen ourselves
— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) July 27, 2016
It’s got me wondering what it would look like if I made my own scene here in my new little city. I think it seems like a worthy goal, but I am a little hesitant as the new kid in town to roll up and declare myself a scene maker. It’s more my nature to lay low for a bit, meet interesting people doing interesting things, and see how I can be a complement to what already exists. And, since Lancaster has officially been declared the new Brooklyn (in the New York Post, so take that for what it’s worth), maybe the scene has already been made, and I just need to find it and find my place in it.
Of course, there are some things that aren’t here that I wish were here, and I could help shape. There are generally no more than two women at any given tech meetup, for example. While I do think we’ve done a good job of making lots of loose connections and casual friendships in the past five months, I still want to meet some more people and spend time with the people we know already. Finding besties is hard as an adult. Maybe impossible?
I think part of it is that people outside of major cities don’t tend to live on the internet as much. For example, there are People to Follow on Twitter and People to Follow on Instagram in Philly. I haven’t figured out who those people are here, and the scant research I’ve done on this so far has yielded the fact that it might not be so much of a thing in Lancaster.
P.S. New York friends, I don’t think I’d say Lancaster is the new Brooklyn. It’s its own thing, for sure. But the quality of food and life are incredibly high, and the level of pretention is still incredibly low. Please come visit. We can walk to all the best restaurants in 15 minutes or less. There is no sweating in the subway stops. I only smell that eau de metropolis on the very hottest of days. It’s pretty charming, really.