Editor’s note: Southern Alberta Institute of Technology journalism student Carl BR Johnson has returned home to Calgary after almost a month at the Times Review. He leaves us with these parting thoughts, comparing life in Revelstoke and Cowtown.
By Carl BR Johnson
Revelstoke turned out to be just what the doctor ordered for this old boy.
For the past four weeks, I have noticed a measurable and an overwhelmingly positive change in my overall health which I can only attribute to living in this radically different-from-Calgary environment.
I have been breathing easier, sleeping easier and longer, my tension levels have dropped considerably, and my overall stress patterns have diminished.
At times, I have actually experienced light-headedness – like a euphoric state of mind.
It was almost as if those first few days here were part of some sort of adjustment period where my body was trying to figure out where all this newfound oxygen was coming from.
And I’ll take Revy’s oxygen over Calgary’s sulphur dioxide any day.
As a result of all this, I have found it easier to stop and smell the roses more often with people.
So why is all this happening?
Let’s look at, and compare the air quality between the two cities.
An environmental study of each city’s in CO2e form, was completed by that city’s corporate bodies and published online recently.
The Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) for Revelstoke in 2007 was a paltry 62,824 tonnes, and Calgary’s number for that same year was a whopping 16,127,000 tonnes.
So for someone like me who has had a heart attack and grew up with asthma, living in this environment couldn’t be better for me.
And if my cardiologist back home were to read this article, he’d be doing his own happy dance right now.
Now let’s take a look at the physical living environment here in Revelstoke.
People, in general, seem to be a little more relaxed, less high-strung, more conversational and definitely more civil than in Cowtown.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many different people throughout my time here, and writing about them, for which I am truly grateful to the Times Review, for taking me on.
In Calgary, you’re nobody unless you’re a celebrity, a politician or hockey player.
It’s a very performance-driven economy and state of mind and that type of environment inevitably creates a kind of obsessive-compulsive type of person.
A very irritating type of person, I might add.
And if you weren’t that way before, you will be soon after moving and living in Calgary for any substantial amount of time.
It all stems from the pressure of being the so-called richest city in Canada.
The drive to perform, to succeed, to produce, to prove something may have its financial rewards in the short run, but in the long run it can devastate your health.
Is it worth it? In the long run, definitely not.
The people of any city make the city what it is, in its heart and soul.
I asked Revelstoke’s Dr. Robin Brooks-Hill for his medical analysis of why my own tension and stress levels might be lower here than at home he said that it’s the familiarity of people that creates a healthier environment.
“When you say ‘hi’ to someone downtown in a larger urban centre, they’ll probably respond with ‘what do you want?” said Brooks-Hill.
“Say ‘hi’ to someone in downtown Revelstoke and they’ll either say ‘hi’ or ‘what can I do for you?’”
He’s totally right.
In Revy, most folks are more likely to be nicer to a stranger because they know that most everyone here is a bit more personally connected that someone in Calgary – a more anonymous place to live.
In Calgary, if you meet someone new on the street, there’s a high degree of probability that you’re never going to see that person again.
Also, familiarity may be the single greatest reason why smaller towns are so appealing for so many people.
When you know someone you see when you walk downtown, that gives us that calm, that feeling that we’re not alone, and that encapsulating protection that removes the threat of danger.
As human beings, we are always on our guard when we are in places that we are not familiar with, it’s what protects us from possible danger.
When that threat has been removed, we can relax because we know we are safe from any real harm, and that, is what adds to our overall health and well-being.