Mental Health, Twenties

Why I’m Not Living in the Suburbs

This week we almost bought a house. That’s the dream right? The house, the white picket fence and the family? Is that your dream because it’s definitely not mine. I didn’t realize that until today. It turns out that buying a house and living in the suburbs is like my own version of pre-colour Pleasantville.

Pleasantville (1998)

Last week we went through the whole process. My fiance and I spoke to the bank, we saw the land, we saw display homes and picked the house that we wanted. The house was perfect but something didn’t sit right. For a week I have had this inexplicable feeling inside me that was telling me that something wasn’t right. I had a mini break down and an alcohol fueled writing/self-questioning session as a result.

The houses are being built in about fifty minutes away from the city in the suburbs. I have a lot of issues with living in the suburbs. I grew up in the suburbs and I have spent my whole life trying to escape my childhood. I think that I got it into my head that if I moved out of the city then revert into someone that I never wanted to be. Would I be able to live and thrive in the burbs?

So I spoke to my psychologist today about my theory that if I dealt with the issues that I have with the suburbs before we move then I would be ok. She asked the hard question, the question that I didn’t want to know the answer too, the question that would blow our dream house up.

“What if you deal with all of your issues but you still don’t to live in the suburbs? What if you’re just not a suburban person?” Would it kill me? Would I die slowly inside?

We were meant to sign the land contracts today. I have been anxiety central for since we did the walk through. I just assumed that I was anxious because I hadn’t had the time to process but as soon as she asked the question I knew she was right. The tears started to flow as I realized that I had said yes to the house and the dream because I thought that was what was meant to come next for us. It was just another box to tick off of the list of things that I thought I was meant to do with my life.

I had to ask myself what was the point of moving to the suburbs and building a four bedroom house for ourselves and our family when there is no family and there may never be? Can you imagine building a house in a suburb that you’re unfamiliar with, with strangers all around and their families and being so far from everything you know? It’s not what I want. I could just see myself dying slowly and my mental health fading the longer I spent in that environment. I might change my mind but right now, without the children to move to the suburbs for, it’s the city where I want to stay.

The suburbs are my version of a nightmare. Weekend BBQ’s, Tupperware parties, baby showers are a special kind of hell. I don’t mind these things occasionally and for the right person but for this to become my life, that’s something that I have never wanted. I can feel my mental health slipping at the thought of all of that pastel and backyard BBQ’s. My dream involves us living in the inner suburbs, weekends at South Melbourne Market, dinner at Eau De Vie and date night at the Theatre. To me that sounds perfect.

The Marshmallow Fizz

Today I have done a lot of crying, a lot of self reflection and a lot of reevaluating of the dream with myself and my fiance. It’s her life too. I am lucky that she loves me and understands that the life that I saw ahead of me is not something that I’m ready for. It was like we were skipping ten steps. I still want to live in the city, to be close to work, to go out and have fun.

So my soul mate and I have compromised. We are a great team and the compromise was easy to come too. We are moving. We’ll move to the south side which works well for both of us and puts us in the general direction of where we wanted to go all while keeping me reasonably with in my comfort zone.

It’s like a weight has been lifted off my chest. No suburbs for us. We will continue to live the good life in the city and you never know… If children do become something that we want, maybe they can be city kids?!

I’ve been doing my research and I am so relieved to find out that I am not alone, so many other people have shared their stories here, here and here. What big life decisions are you afraid of?

xx

Lacey-Jade Christie

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22 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Living in the Suburbs

  1. I completely understand where you’re coming from. I have tow kids and we live in the inner suburbs in Sydney so I get the perfect city/family balance. My kids love living in the city too.

  2. It’s your life you can do what you want. Don’t let other people’s ideals decide what you want to do with your life.

  3. Love this! I can definitely relate! I’ve just moved to the suburbs and I question my decision everyday. I’m hoping it will get better.

  4. I remember thinking like that. I moved to suburbia two years ago and haven’t looked back. It’s not for everyone, but I love it.

  5. I hate suburbs in large part because it is so child focused. I really am a city girl at heart. But the fact is it is much easier to be childfree in a large city. I can go spend time at my local cafes and restaurants. I don’t have to worry about driving everywhere, I can walk, or take public transit. It really is a beautiful life living in a city. I really just hate the burbs too.

  6. It all depends on your preferences I guess. I bought my house in a suburb and I love it. I used to live in a higher crime area of the city and it sucked. Now I’m 10 minutes outside of the city on a dead end street that backs up to a cemetery. It’s peaceful and quiet, and almost no children (only 1) because most folks on the street are old, so their kids are adults. The suburb the author is describing sounds like a new-build McMansion neighborhood where every house looks the same. I neither can afford nor desire living in that type of neighborhood.

    1. i’m so glad that I’m not alone. I also grew up in a small suburban town and it was like coming up for air when I left.

      1. Exactly this. My hometown is where two generations of my family have lived — I remember my conservative uncle tried to sell me on Erie being a great place because “it’s two hours from Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo.”

        I laughed in his face; it’s awfully hypocritical when he himself left, now lives in Los Angeles, and owns property in Miami.

        Since moving, I’ve lived in a whole slew of cities: New York, Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and now Toronto. I can’t say that I have an ounce of regret.

      2. Oh and even if you wanted kids, there are plenty of ways to live in the city with kids. After all, if you hated your childhood in suburbia, why would you want to force that on your kid. It isn’t “automatic” that all kids want suburbia. Hell, suburbia is a relatively new phenomenon.

      3. You’re in Melbourne too, hello! I’m in the inner burbs, 20 minute tram ride to the city or I’ll cycle if the weather is good. I hate how car dependent our outer suburbs are, I hate driving so I’m not sure I could live out there.

      4. I live in the suburbs and find it’s the best for me. It might be “boring”, but it’s also inexpensive and convenient. Close to work, close to shopping, close to services of all types (e.g. dentists, doctors), ample living space, never have to worry about parking (I’m shocked at how much people pay for parking!). It’s not too congested and fairly quiet. Not really a lot of entertainment, but I’m mostly a homebody anyway.

        My job is out in the suburbs, so my commute is less than 10 minutes each way. I have a theory about commuting too: I would rather commute to entertainment than to a job. Job = 5 days/week, peak travel hours, rain or shine, no real flexibility. Entertainment = however often you want, can avoid peak travel hours, can postpone/cancel if weather sucks, total flexibility.

      5. To me the suburbs have always felt like an overly sterilized cultureless void. The city is awesome because there are so many things to do and you have the option of not driving, the country is awesome because it’s quiet and great if you love outdoors stuff or hobbies that require larger lot spaces. The suburbs to me are like the worst of both – you generally have to drive everywhere – to the city to enjoy more than strip mall offerings, to the outskirts to enjoy nature – and in a lot of suburbs the lot space is basically the size of a postage stamp and you’re still inflicted with the sound of noisy neighbors (cause the houses are so close to one another).

  7. Not at all. Suburbs lack adequate public transit (in most cases), are filled to the brim with families (and usually, most of them are headed by mombies and/or daddicts), and I need the ability to walk outside and find something interesting.

    Not to mention that I grew up in a secluded suburb in a small city — I vowed that I’d never do it again.

  8. Older suburbs I don’t mind so much, the sort of nice but not massive houses set on an actual piece of property with a decent sized yard and not close enough to your neighbors to have them staring in your windows all the time. The new housing developments I hate with a passion. Overblown McMansions that have 5 bedrooms and 4 car garages but have no soul, no yard, no privacy…living in one of those sounds like soul-sucking hell for me.

    What would be perfect for me would be a little bit of land in the neighborhood of an acre, room for a workshop and a nice couple bedroom house set back off the road a bit, space for entertaining inside and out…and have the whole thing be a reasonably quick and easy drive to services and not far out from a major city as I will never live in super-rural-hell again either.

  9. The house I grew up in until we moved was a in suburban area north of the city. Everything was easily accessible by bike, by walking, or public transport. I was in great shape tbh because I biked everywhere. Then we moved to a housing development out in a way more rural undeveloped area and it was pure hell for me. I felt like I was suffocating. It was surrounded by cornfields and the closest store that wasn’t a Walgreens or a gas station was a 15 minute drive away.

    My boyfriend and I moved to the city 3 years ago and I love it. We live maybe 5 minutes away from the main strip in our area and new businesses seem to keep popping up. They just recently opened up a restaurant in the historic landmark in our area that had an uncertain future when we moved in. (Warning: link auto-plays music.) There is more crime than I was accustomed to, but it was the trade-off we made for city living.

  10. I like older neighborhoods, its the newer, cookie cutter family homes with no trees that I hate. I don’t like my parents home for that reason. It has no privacy and there are ten houses exactly like it in our neighborhood. But I really want enough space for an office, a big kitchen, and a big yard for my dog to play in, so suburbs it is. Hopefully I can afford one in the inner loop when I’m ready to buy one so it’s still close to all the fun stuff.

  11. Yep. Spot on.The further away from civilisation I get, the more my genetics for crazy, start to show.

    Small town= Slow death of me. I hate bumping into people I know everywhere. I don’t want to know my neighbours. Or anyone who lives on our street. Everything being stagnant.I hate everyone knowing everyone’s business.Arghh just thinking about it makes me feel stifled and claustrophobic.

    It’s ironic that in order to seek more privacy/anonymity or to escape people, you have to seek out a more densely populated area.

    To be fair…since I spend most of my weeks never leaving the house – it probably doesn’t matter where I live :p I take after my dad. Hes also very content being in his own world and sometimes forgetting that these​ things called “Outside” and “people” exist.

    Ps suburbs etc can be totally cool and I respect people’s choices to live there. It’s just not for me.

  12. The “American dream” for me is very different than what it is for most people. No big house, no picket fence, no kids. Instead of a big house, I want one where I don’t pay a huge daily tax (in terms of time) just to get to/from work.

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