I had the best time at some BBQs this weekend. See all the happy people and children above. A kids’ playhouse, a good party, fun people, tasty food. Space for children to run and play. Room for adults to lounge and talk and laugh outdoors. All the good things about the suburbs. All the reasons I moved out here. The people and things that make it hard to get up and go.
But also this past weekend, The New York Times published an article called What to Do When You’ve Picked the Wrong Suburb. Three family members sent it to me – and I was like you don’t get it. I think Maplewood, NJ is great. Maybe a bit too small for me. But still – as suburbs go – it’s pretty good and has a lot of creative types and diverse families and it’s pretty liberal. I just don’t think the suburbs are for me. I texted back my cousin – “What to Do When You Don’t Want to Live in Any Suburb“.
Either way, this article was really interesting to read. Here are the first 3 paragraphs. I took some creative liberties and crossed out some words and inserted others that are more true to me. You get the gist.
“For many city dwellers, leaving for the suburbs is a difficult decision, reached after a lengthy weighing of pros and cons. Imagine making the leap only to discover that you
’ve picked the wrong suburb don’t like the suburbs. Do you stay?
Switching suburbs Moving again after you’ve plunked down a hefty down payment and settled your children in school seems infinitely challenging, and indeed some recent transplants who have doubts about their new communities resign themselves to the idea that there is no such thing as a perfect suburb place to live.
But for others, the gnawing sensation that something is not quite right pushes them to keep searching for another suburb place, a better
suburb place, a place where they might actually feel at home. Maybe it’s the commute. Maybe the schools are too big or too small, or the town is too quiet or not quiet enough. Maybe what they thought was important — the big yard and the birds singing out the windows — was not so important after all.”
The article continues and really stresses the importance of the personalities of different towns and finding like-minded people. I believe that. But I found that. So then what.
I don’t know. I’m sitting inside my living room as I write this right now. I love it inside my house. I love the light and my objects and parts that feel like my home. I think it’s more when I step out the front door I’m so ihatenj.
Here another golden nugget from the article.
“The problem is that singling out what’s most important to you in a new town may be the biggest challenge of all. Dr. Florida said that we all have multiple sides of our personalities fighting for dominance, especially when it comes to choosing a place to live.
You want your kids to go outside and play,” he said, “but you also want to walk to dinner. You’re in the gritty city and wish for a car, then you move to the suburbs and get a car and long for the gritty city. Nothing fits perfectly.”
This really spoke me. The idea of various parts of self and trying to make them all happy – this can be difficult. And has led me on an exploration of self, as a newish parent, as someone who changed careers. What do I want. What has changed. What is the same.
I also connected to the article when Dr. Florida spoke of knowing “someone who evaluated suburban towns based on the availability of fresh mozzarella”. And said “this may be as good a measurement as any”. I believe that. That if that is important to someone, and that has meaning – more power to them. There are so many things that make someplace a home, and it’s fine if it’s something big, or it’s totally fine that those things are varying for people. I remember driving around the suburbs and looking at towns. I needed the village to have sushi and yoga. I cried when we were driving around a particular community where all the moms were wearing college sweatshirts and baseball hats. Cool for them – no judging – but I couldn’t relate.
My cousin – the same cousin who sent me this article – recently questioned me about what didn’t feel good about Maplewood. And it was funny, I was speaking about energy and vibes. And she didn’t get that. I think for her, for a lot of people, people move for a job. A commute. Something practical and more tangible. I get that. But as someone who has spent a lot of energy trying to justify my eh feelings about the suburbs, I am totally with this Dr. Florida. Home can be as simple as good mozzarella.
The article is a good read. Made me think. Check it.
Ciao, Lauren xx