Cities and minds

Our minds are like cities.

Like cities. Huge, sweeping spaces where all kinds of people live in any number of different ways. There are fancy, well-to-do suburbs and run down, neglected areas.

Some days the weather is grey and cloudy and some times the sun comes out early, covering everything in a gentle gloss. On some days any two areas can experience different weather entirely, like they were four hundred kilometres apart instead of four.

Like our minds, our cities are forever works in progress. When the ribbon is cut on a new building or a busy road is resurfaced, an old bridge on the other side of town awaits reinforcement. Like people, cities are never finished, never completed. They are living, breathing, writhing organisms that grow and contract, shifting with the passing of time.

Just because a few areas of our lives seem completely stable and healthy, nothing can ever be perfect across our whole map. And even if one aspect of our lives is improving, the answer to stability, balance and happiness is never found by focusing on one area and neglecting others. Nor can it this balance found by treating different parts of our lives like tasks on a list. We are all our own ongoing project; projects that we need to be continually conscious of and seek to better understand.

Walking around this city feels a little bit like walking around in my own mind. I feel like we have a lot in common with one another. The feeling of my sneakers on a Melbourne footpath is reassuring. I had strangely similar feelings when I took my first walk around New York City. I walked two hundred metres by streetlight in sub-zero temperatures and felt an immediate connection.

Some places resonate deeply with us and some do not. Some places inspire me to write abstract, wispy love letters like this while others seem to me just to be simple collections of buildings. I feel lucky that I've already found a couple of places that feel like topographic maps of my mind. I'm confident that as I see more of the world I'll find a few more.