The other day I have been told I don’t know what quality of life is, just when I thought I had found the perfect place to live: Berlin.
I understood that quality of life means something different for each person. There are tons of articles and researches that try to list the best places to live, the ones with the best quality of life, but what are the parameters, and how do they estimate how many points to assign?
I am told that a place where it’s hard to find a parking spot is a terrible place. A place where streets are two ways but cars are parked on both sides of the street so two cars driving in the opposite direction won’t fit at the same time and one has to back up, is a terrible place. That not being able to go door to door (covered garage to covered garage) with your car is a terrible thing.
What I see instead is a place where I can live without a car, a place where I can walk. Walking is a very precious thing. After living for 4 years in small cities in Florida where I was completely dependent on my car, being in a place with awesome public transportation is almost unbelievable! Sure, having a car is cool, sometimes you need a car, but depend on it is not so cool! When my car broke down I was completely dependent on precious friends to carry me around, and I had to invest quite some money to fix it and then eventually to get a reliable car. This won’t happen now :) I can get out and jump on the first train, no need to check the schedule there is one every 5 minutes (no kidding). With no more than 2 connections I am in every possible place in town. To and from the train I walk, it is usually a short walk, I get some fresh air, I exercise, it is very relaxing, plus I think all this walking is boosting my immune system, I haven’t gotten a cold yet!
People noticed that nobody spends big money on a weekly hair styling in Berlin, the damp air will mercilessly ruin it. And they notice that people are not really paying too much attention to how fancy their clothes are, they think people are careless.
I think it is awesome that people are not all homogeneous! You can dress how you want. In town you will find all the styles, you can have your own style. You don’t feel the need to buy this or that because everybody is wearing this or that and you feel you are the only idiot not wearing it. You just have to bother to dress according to the weather, keep warm. And as for hairs? You can sport all sorts of hats if you don’t have to worry about flattening the gorgeous loks that you payed big bucks to the hairdresser!
I was asked how do I do my grocery shopping without a car?? Well, I have 4 grocery stores plus one organic store not more than 5 minutes walking distance from home. Instead of going grocery shopping for hours on a Saturday afternoon, burning half a day of the only two days of weekend we are given in this life, I go few times per week, I buy few things. I like it that way, I don’t need a huge pantry to store stuff for one week, I don’t need to plan my meals for the entire week. I used to find extremely stressful going to the grocery store on Saturday, you have to carefully plan and keep a grocery list and at times you forget something and you get upset because either you go through the stressful supermarket experience again or you will have to live without that item for one week!
Actually I can only see good aspects of this new life, but again who decides what a good quality of life is?
What is quality of life to you?
Youre right in comparison with the US but you could say exactly the same things if you lived in Paris or London–transport, food, shopping, clothes, styles etc. I agree there is something unique about Berlin but Im not sure that captures it! Were actually thinking of moving there in a few years time–Ive loved it since 1962 or so!
You are right, Berlin is just one place where this applies. But I am sure you will be surprised to hear that my comparison was not with the US but with Italy, although I know it applies perfectly to the US too (see my example of life in Florida)