Most people, when asked the above question, would say yes, myself included. Chalk it up to a mini-mid-life crisis, but recently, I’ve been thinking back about where I thought I would be when I turn 30 (which, by the way, occurs in about 5 months. Start panicking now). And I definitely didn’t think it would be in burbs.
Of course, when I was 18 and parading through the streets of the hipster neighborhoods of Chicago, I didn’t realize that those beautiful brownstone house cost a crap-ton of money. Money which librarians and PhD students do not have. If I had sold out and become a corporate attorney or (gasp!) marketing guru, then perhaps I could afford a beautiful city house. But alas, I choose the path of intellectuals and, hence, the chronically underemployed.
So I live in the suburbs, after living in the city for a couple of years.. Don’t get me wrong, I like where we’re living, and there are certain perks to the suburbs: clean air, a backyard, closer to family, not having to fight for parking. But while I miss the greener aspects of the city (public transportation being the most obvious), I miss the culture, I miss the energy. I’m tired of chain restaurants and malls. I tired of everything looking the same. I want something different, something less superficial, something more friendly and welcoming than the artificial greeting one gets upon entering Costco. Maybe the suburbs are starting to feel too routine to me, maybe a little too confining.
Not that the city offers some sort of safe cultural haven – just look at the gentrification happening in most areas where young white hipsters live. But at least there are more…options.
I’m positive that these things exist in the suburbs; they’re just harder to find. Particularly in MY suburb, which I am convinced is the mecca of capitalism, with one of the largest malls in the country. But I know there are small family-owned restaurants and shops, museums, art showings, and people who feel just like I do – economically situated in the suburbs, but craving more. So, rather than sit here and complain about the suburbs suck (because they really don’t), I have chosen to find the culture in my suburban neck of the woods.
For instance: tonight Tony and I took Frankie to a little hole-in-the-wall sushi place called Sushi Ya. It was fantastic! The entire staff greeted every person that walked in, you get free miso soup and edamame, the food was delicious, and the prices reasonable. I love that the waitstaff knew regulars, and were so welcoming. Even Frankie got in on the action, enjoying his very own miso soup bowl that they staff brought him.
It made me feel better that 1) we were supporting a small local business (although, from the crowd in there today, it looks like they don’t need our help!), and 2) it wasn’t Applebees or Chilis, or even a chain sushi place. And we did something outside of our routine. And sometimes all it takes to get a little excitement in your life is a really good tuna roll.