No matter your age, career, or income, when reflecting upon your ideal living situation, one question is always bound to come up: city or suburbs?
After ditching my hometown for the thrill of living in Los Angeles (which, to be clear, I wouldn’t have traded for anything – so don’t hate me, LA friends!), and then returning to suburban living, I’ve reflected pretty extensively on this subject. And after quite a long time as a card-carrying member of Team City, I now feel overwhelmingly compelled to make a case for the ‘burbs, so here are my top 4 arguments in affectionate support of suburban living.
1. Less Traffic
Anyone who knows me knows that there are few things I hate more than traffic, so indulge me for a second even though this one is stupidly obvious.
Traffic isn’t just the frustration of having to use your brake pedal every half-second, or the glaringly infinite artery of red tail lights that tells you you’re going to be late because they’re doing construction on the 405. Again.
Traffic is a non-refundable expenditure of TIME.
On your way to and from work, in the absurdly congested parking lot at the grocery store, en route to your pharmacy – you are spending precious moments of your life sitting in a car, groaning as you watch another traffic light turn green, red, and green again, without moving so much as an inch closer to your destination. Another five minutes of your life – gone.
Okay maybe I’m being melodramatic, but I realized instantly upon moving back to the suburbs that not only was I a much less stressed individual – I had so much more TIME because traffic just isn’t a thing out here (certainly not as we know it in LA). I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to suggest I’ve reclaimed an extra hour per day, now that I’m not spending that time in traffic. And that hour is literally priceless. Because when you’re on your deathbed, are you really going to look back and think, “I really wish I could’ve spent more time sitting in my car.” Unless you’re one of those amazing human beings who takes public transit and/or listens to self-improving audiobooks every minute that you’re in traffic – not likely.
2. Nearer to Nature
City’s have their parks and maybe even nearby beaches, but since returning to the suburbs, I LOVE the fact that I can literally step out of my front door and if I walk less than a mile in the right direction, I’ll find myself at a trailhead with nothing but the hills ahead of me.
I may be situated luckily in this respect, that’s fair enough, but I do love that from pretty much anywhere in my hometown, it’s at most only a short drive (without traffic) to a local trail, which probably won’t be even remotely crowded. Again – priceless.
3. No Lack of Local Business
One reason I always felt I would settle in the city was because I admittedly love an abundance of entertainment and infrastructure. I’d still agree that you can’t quite compare a small town cultural center to The Getty, after all.
That said, I was literally overwhelmed by the amount of incredible, locally-grown restaurants and businesses my suburban hometown has to offer. While the family-run donut shop up the street might not have 4,000 Yelp reviews and an Instagram page, and my favorite local burger joint didn’t start as a trendy food truck, there’s an abundance of little gems here that I have absolutely loved discovering. And there is no doubt that the business owners here are just as passionate and glad to meet you (if not even more so) than their counterparts in the city.
4. Happier Pets
The suburbs mean more room to spread out – that’s a given. This also means the probability of having a yard (A YARD, people), which is a huge selling point if you have a pet or aspire to pet-parenthood.
I had to hand over sole custody of my Yorkie to my mom when I moved to the city because I knew there was simply no way successful potty executions were going to happen in my itty bitty (shared) apartment, and I couldn’t count on having time to run home from work every day on my lunch hour to take him out. Plus, the noise from all the super-close neighbors would’ve had the poor thing barking himself hoarse all day long. The suburbs have been much more accommodating, and me and my pooch have been happily reunited.
I’m not gonna lie, this assessment has been a pretty subjective one: I despise traffic, I prefer a quiet little hiking path to the bustle of Ocean Ave., I love little local businesses and feel better about living with my dog in the suburbs. You are absolutely entitled to disagree on any and every point above, but I will say that when I first thought that settling back in the ‘burbs would mean resigning myself to a boring, cultural wasteland, I’ve been very happily surprised, and am very grateful to be back.
Whether zealously Team City, Team Suburbs, or indecisively on the fence, this is a choice you have to make according to your priorities and the values closest to your heart. Long-winded upshot: Consider all sides, and do what will work in the long-run for YOU.