My white picket fence dream:
Maybe I’m having a 3-decade crisis, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about moving to the suburbs. Eric and I love our current condo, and it’s ideal location, but are starting to feel a little smothered by city life. The hustle and bustle combined with noise, no privacy, and little personal space is really starting to wear on us.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of wonderful things about city life and I appreciate most of them, but I feel like I’ve “been there done that” and I’m ready for a slower pace of life. After 7-years of “city-living” I no longer have the desire to try hottest restaurants and drink at the coolest bars. While I’m finishing up a simple dinner around 9pm and headed home to watch a little Suze Orman and Pitbulls and Parolees, the “youngsters” around me are just getting “warmed up” for the night (do I sound like a little old lady or what?). Basically, now that I’ve found my partner and matured a little bit, I have no interest in the late night party scene, nor do I feel like I need to be in the, “heart of the action”.
I know some people have the urge to “nest” before they have a baby. Well I don’t have the baby, but I do have a desire to “nest”. Nesting to me means moving somewhere where I”ll have some more space (physical and spiritual). Right now we have a 2-bed 1-bath condo. It’s enough space for the two of us, but not all of our stuff. We’ve been renting a storage unit since I finished grad school in 2009. More important than the physical space, there’s something really important to me about having a little bit of land to call my own. I grew up in a very rural part of Maine and my “American dream” has always included having a yard, driveway, garage etc. (so “traditional” of me, right?).
Pros and cons of moving to the suburbs:
No More Storage! When I originally rented the “storage unit that saved my relationship” I thought my stuff would be there for 6-months or less. I planned on moving back to Boston or somewhere in the suburbs where I’d have more space. If we moved to the suburbs we’d likely buy a place that has a basement or attic (or more than 2 rooms) so that we could take everything out of the unit and actually use it in our home.
No More Parking Fees. After years of paying for parking it would feel so wonderful to park the car in the driveway and not have to pay for it. Right now we’re paying $250 a month to park our car at a garage about 5 blocks from our condo. I can’t even imagine the luxury of walking out to the driveway and having the car right there. Something I haven’t had since I moved away from home in 2001!
No More Condo fees. How much do I hate paying condo fees? I’m fiercely independent and paying condo fees really rubs me the wrong way. Not to mention our condo fees include nothing (not heat, not hot water, not maintenance, not snow removal, nothing!). Basically, our condo fees pay for our building’s taxes and that’s it. When there’s anything that needs to be fixed or purchased we have an assessment and everyone pays for it. This might not be so bad if we got along with everyone in the association, but we don’t.
Grocery stores. Right now I buy most of our groceries online. I don’t drive here (I have my license and I drive, just not here because it’s too stressful), so if we moved to the suburbs I’d be able to drive again. That means we’d probably spend less on groceries because I’d be able to shop around a little bit. I also wouldn’t have have to have Eric chauffeur me around everywhere (poor guy).
Backyard. It’s a simple thing, but we’d love to have a yard for the dog (and someday our kids). Growing up in a very rural part of Maine I’ve always envisioned myself living in a house with a yard.
More space. Square footage is at a premium in the city. If we moved to the suburbs we’d get much more bang for our buck. I’d love to have some sort of space for my crafts and Eric’s electronics (man cave?). Right now we have so little space, most of our stuff is in storage because our place would be horribly cluttered if it wasn’t. If/when we have kids someday we’d also need some more space for them. We’d also like to have a little more space for family to come visit. Right now if more than 2 people come to visit everyone is on top of each other.
More Expensive Train pass. The further from the city we move, the more expensive the train pass will be. We’d also consider bus commuting, but would like to live somewhere were there are both train and bus options (in case one or the other isn’t working).
Longer commute. The further we move from the city the longer our commute will be. That also means we’d have less time to spend together because we’d be spending more time commuting back and forth to work. Eric typically works a longer day that I do, so it would probably impact him more, but he says he’s “up for it” and doesn’t mind a longer commute. I on the other hand wouldn’t want to move somewhere where my commute was longer than an hour one-way.
Proximity to cultural events. We love so many of the things that the city has to offer. Museums, art, shows, comedy clubs, street fairs etc. etc. Of course some of those things will still be available in the suburbs, but we’ve gotten pretty spoiled with the Broadway shows and world class museums.
Proximity to friends. We don’t have any family in the city (or within a reasonable driving distance), so our friends have really become our family. If we move to suburbs it’s going to be more difficult to get together with our friends. Sure we could still get together after work, but convincing folks to “trek” to the suburbs would likely be pretty difficult.
What am I missing? Do you live in the city or the suburbs? Do you ever want to move?
Image: Lion Heart Vintage