When someone says, “traditional lifestyle,” we think of historical farms, countryside views, gardens, animals, sunrises, and sunsets. We rarely, if ever, think of apartments, city streets, and rental townhomes with historical living.
Perhaps you’re a college student in a campus dorm room. Maybe your job keeps you in an urban studio apartment. Perhaps skyrocketing housing costs prevent you from owning the country cottage of your dreams. How can we aspire to live historically if we are constantly surrounded by modern environments?
The good news is cities have existed for millennia. It is absolutely one-hundred percent historical living to reside in an urban setting. So, we’re not out of luck! City living doesn’t prevent us from living traditionally. Let’s go over some tips and tricks for how any city dweller can start living more historically!
How to Practice Historical Living in the City
Focus Less on the Trappings of Traditionalism
Just as much as the next lady, I love keeping chickens and wearing a good prairie dress. But traditionalism is far more than a stylish aesthetic. Living a historical lifestyle is about mindset, morals, values, and purpose. There is nothing wrong with looking the part or wanting a historical environment. Just remember that these things are simply things, not a way of life. You don’t need them to start living historically.
Historically, we have never been surrounded by so much incessant, noisy, constant technology, accessible all the time. We rarely think to shut it off! In previous generations, silence in the background was normal. So, try quieting technology in your own home. My husband and I have embraced screen-free living ninety percent of our free time, and our home has never felt more restful. Switching off screens provides the elusive peace and quiet we all yearn for. Instead of turning to social media, Netflix, or scrolling, try:
- Reading a book
- Asking a friend to visit
- Picking up an old hobby
- Caring for your home
- Having coffee in silence
Pick Up Some Historical Skills
Most of our ancestors had far fewer possessions than we do; instead, they had dozens of skill sets we completely lack today. They made their own food, homes, clothes, and entertainment. What is a hundred-year-old skill that you would like to learn? Pick a skill to pursue in your free time—simply ensure you can try it in the limited space you have. For instance, I can’t build a canoe on my kitchen floor, but I can learn to crochet sitting on my couch. Grab a how-to book and dive in! You will challenge yourself, pick up a new hobby, and learn a practical new skill all at the same time.
Make an Elderly Friend
The eldest in our society are our only living connection to history itself. Make a friend who is a couple generations above you! Our churches, communities, and local nursing homes are full of lonely seniors. They’re often especially happy to teach you one of those historical skills we just discussed. Maybe a grandmother could teach you to bake bread. Perhaps the little old man at church could invite you to his carpentry shop. We can learn so much from the experience of the aged.
Traditional marriage is the absolute cornerstone of history. Not a single generation goes by without being directed by the marriages and families which came before. Obviously, not everyone has a significant other, and not everyone is ready to tie the knot tomorrow! My point is that if we are interested in historical living, we must treat our love lives accordingly. Reject cohabitation, premarital sex, and modern hookup culture. Instead, embrace a more historically accurate and traditional approach to romance.
Even if the outside world near you isn’t a beautiful field or natural forest, it’s still well worth going outside. Our ancestors spent a huge majority of their time outside, whether it was farming, caring for gardens and livestock, or traveling. How often do we get some fresh air and exercise? Go for a walk, find a park, watch a river, or seek out a pretty view—even if you have to drive a few minutes before you can enjoy it. The natural world is worth our attention!
Living within our means seems to be a dying art. In today’s digital age, we can spend money we don’t even have! Our great-grandfathers would be appalled. Suffice it to say, if we want to live more aligned with historical values, frugality should be on our to-do lists. You have probably heard the age-old saying, “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” How can we practice better frugality in our daily lives? Where might we be creating unnecessary waste? What can we reuse, recycle, or repurpose in our homes?
Historical Living Anywhere
Wherever we live, whatever our surroundings, we can pursue historical living ardently. Living in the city doesn’t mean betraying our beliefs. Rather than settling for lives that reflect our environments, we can truly thrive by building lives that reflect our values!
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