When Mr. Magpie and I are feeling especially world-weary, we wax poetic on a shared vision of bucolic bliss in rural Virginia. We imagine ourselves living in a squat farmhouse on a verdant, undulating plot in Appalachia, surviving off of cottage industries and the fat of the land. (Incidentally, I’ll take this one pls and thank you — love those built-in bookshelves!) Mr. Magpie enjoys the meditative labor associated with yardwork and gardening, and I’m drawn to the quietude and simplicity of an existence devoid of throngs of people and especially the coddled, rehearsed self-importance we find so distastefully prevalent across so many of the people we’ve met in so many of the industries that crowd the large cities in which we’ve been blessed and cursed to live. My foibles are many, and I am not absolved of this particular sin either, but I aspire to live a life free of haughtiness and pretension. Is there anything worse than being made to feel a rube? An outsider? An idiot for not knowing the patois, or conforming to certain practices, or recognizing the arbitrary order of operations that everyone else seems to know? (FWIW, this is why I’m skeptical of the success of start-ups like Class Pass, promising and enticing though they may seem: I think they underestimate that many of us find it daunting to assimilate the idiosyncracies of a new gym/studio every other day of the week, casting quiet glances around the locker room to observe whether the classmates wear socks or bare feet; whether phones are permitted in the room; which mats to use; what to wear; where to sit; how to clip in; how to turn on; where the towels and water are. Then we return a few days later with the put-upon airs of a veteran: blank eyes calmly stowing our belongings as we pretend not to see a fellow newbie cast her own furtive, unknowing glances around the room.) One of my longest-running, deepest-seated bugaboos is the casual use of acronyms and argot in a mixed audience: “Oh, we just ran the CPDs and it’s all good.” “What are the KPIs that matter? What are your CACs?” “I just joined the PLS, and two guys from JDD told me…”
The insular jargon that leaves you feeling three bricks shy of a full load.
I’ve written about this in the past — how language can fence people in and out — and could easily bang on about the topic ad nauseum, but the point here is that there are days and weeks and even months where Mr. Magpie and I cotton to a vision of a retiring, quiet country lifestyle free of the rarified pretense of big city life.
A friend recently asked how I felt after we dissolved our business. “Mixed emotions,” I said. “Bitter, excited, nostalgic, relieved, sad, ready for something new, happy for the opportunity to write and stay at home.” The non-sequiturs poured out, litany-like, before I concluded: “I don’t know. Sometimes we just want to wipe our hands and move to the country. Do something completely different. Buy some land, start a farmstand or something.”
“Could you really do that?” she asked. “My brother lives on a farm and it is lonely out there. I’m there for only an hour and I start to get itchy. And it puts pressure on the relationships with the people you live with.”
I chewed on this.
There’s no question that Mr. Magpie and I would be fine — in fact, we’d probably thrive in isolation. We just lived through the pressure cooker of starting, running, and dissolving a business together while getting pregnant and having a baby together and all of the emotional, financial, and intellectual friction that those endeavors entail — and we came out on the other end stronger. In fact, at the risk of sounding cloying, I’ll admit that one of the hardest parts of this transition has been going from spending close to all of our time together to only a few hours a day together. But it dawned on me that, of all of the places I have lived thus far, New York is easily my favorite. There’s no two ways about it. So how would I fare, moving from the magical hustle and bustle of one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with all of its cultural amenities and clashes, to a sparsely populated rurality?
I’m undecided on this front. Could I do it? In some ways, I find myself well-suited to a slower paced, more contemplative lifestyle, with lots of time and space to sit and write, uninterrupted. But in other ways, I think I’d drive myself crazy, given my predisposition to overstuffing my days and keeping myself busy, flitting around from errand to errand, bakery to grocery, Gymboree to Central Park.
What about you? Are you a country mouse or a city mouse? Can you be both?
+On the country mouse side of things: channeling Rosie the Riveter, I recently wore this headband in an Instastory (P.S. – I have updated my Insta profile to include links to some of the products I feature in my Instastories and other recent discoveries!) and had lots of questions about it. I love the headband trend!
+On the city mouse side of things: I stopped by the J. Crew in the Time Warner building a week or two ago and these mules are SO chic in person! Then I saw a very chic lady of a certain age wearing them in the airport en route to Naples with dark-wash denim and a simple white button-down and was SOLD. So chic!
+Does anyone have experience with the skincare brand Dr. Jart? This is in my cart RN after reading rave reviews.
+Someone recently told me that this is the secret to the perfect blowout. I’m going to test it out…
+I love the lightweightness of this transition-to-summer sweater, and the textures/colors are so fun!
+I saw my new friend, the gorgeous Grace of The Stripe, looking like a SMOKESHOW wearing this dress in an Instastory and immediately added it to my shopping cart for a future date night or evening out. (Under $130!)
+How stunning is this calligraphy?!?
P.S. I hate these words.
P.P.S. A recipe for a rainy day.