Recently I read an article in a local publication about young couples choosing to go against the grain and buy houses and raise families within the city limits. The subject struck me as odd; with the crowd that I run in, choosing to lay down roots in the city is the norm. I was the lone pariah that bucked the trend and moved to the suburbs.
When my fiancé and I started looking for houses, I was undecided on whether I wanted to live in the city or somewhere completely rural. My fiancé pointed out that living in the sticks would result in way too long of a commute (damn him and his logic!), and also that we were both starting to tire of the proximity of our neighbors after many years of city living. As much as I hated to admit it, the latter was true; we were routinely woken up an hour or so before our alarms by the mother next door yelling at her sons to get out of bed. The wee hours of the morning were sometimes accompanied by bar patrons puking outside our bathroom window, and it was common knowledge that if our neighbors were eating dinner at their dining room table, they were looking clear into our kitchen.
With these two well-made points, I had to confront what was, for me, a less popular option: The Burbs.
I can admit that it was hard for me to leave the city life; crowded as it was, I loved the shops and the bars, the restaurants revitalizing tired neighborhoods and breathing new life. Our city is in the midst of a renaissance, and the thought of leaving in the middle of all that saddened me. Facts were facts, though; I was raised in a house with a backyard that backed up to woods and fields, and I was secretly yearning to have my own piece of green space and the open fields just a mile or two away.
My friends were shocked to hear that we had purchased a home in the suburbs. We didn’t seem like the type, the couple to want the white picket fence and the perfectly manicured lawn.
Only that’s not the type of suburb dwellers that we are.
Instead of a sprawling castle in a brand new subdivision, we reside in a small Cape Cod in a lower-income neighborhood. We are using our decently-sized backyard to grow vegetables, and built a raised bed out of someone else’s cast-off bricks to grow hops for when we brew beer. We collect up downed branches from our trees and, instead of putting them at the street for pick up, we invite our friends over for a bonfire. We compost our leaves and scraps in a homemade compost bin in the backyard, and ride our bikes through cow pastures in the dying light of the summer evening. While we aren’t a stone’s throw from a culturally cool bar, we have been investigating our local pubs and have even found some that have great microbrews on tap and sell them for super cheap.
Do I sometimes feel like a sellout to my generation for leaving the city for the suburbs? Hell yes. Do I feel like it was a bad decision? Sometimes… but it’s a decision I’d make again. I guess it’s time to own up to the fact that I am a suburbanite now, and try my hardest to break the stereotypes.