I Left City Life Behind for the Suburbs — Here's What I Learned
As a girl, I day dreamed of city life. I was born in a town 45 minutes outside of Chicago. A day trip into Chicago was a very good day. When we moved to Maine as a kid, our dreams shifted to Boston. The city was always the goal — where magic happens, people eat great food, shop at amazing stores, have big careers. I was going to be a city girl.
After graduating college and marrying Zach, he and I were constantly discussing our next move. His MBA brought us to New York, and I got to live the dream.
I had the corporate job in a very tall building, we lived in a teeny apartment, we shopped in amazing stores and ate great food. It was great, but our family lived on the other side of the country, so when school ended, we plotted our next move to a West Coast city: Los Angeles.
LA is still my true love. People are often polarized about LA. For me, it was love at first sight. It's a sprawling city with pockets of urban and suburban, as much diversity as you can desire, a world of creativity, and rewards for those who were willing to do the work to uncover the cool, hidden gems.
Three years ago, we moved from LA to San Diego for a new job for Zach and the comfort of a slower, smaller life for our growing family. We just had Rosie and Clara, and while we didn't fully realize it yet, we had a pretty solid suspicion that our life of restaurants, concerts, bike rides, and farmers markets would look a bit different with twin babies. It turns out, we are not alone. For the first time since the suburban boom between the 1950s and 1980s, more Americans are moving out of cities, rather than to them.
I wasn't initially sold on this idea of comfort, however. The city girl in me is a stubborn one.
Our first two years here were spent in a beautiful, but very quiet area of northern San Diego, where we didn't quite find our spot. I spent those first two years lamenting about my lost urban amenities.
Last year, we moved a bit further north to the charming surf town of Encinitas, and I started falling for this slower pace of life.
We found a little neighborhood with older homes that is experiencing a bit of a transformation. Younger families are moving into homes owned by families who spent the better part of their lives here. Everyone we talk to has either sent their now-grown children to the neighborhood elementary school or currently has children in the neighborhood elementary school. You walk down the street, and neighbors stop to chat. We text to meet at the community pool, and have Friday night pizza parties. It's pretty idyllic, it turns out.
What we sacrifice in job opportunities, restaurant options, and shopping destinations is made up for in good old fashioned community. For the first time in my life, I am not in a hurry to move.
I distinctly remember telling my sister when we were planning our move to San Diego that I did not want to become a mom stuck at home driving my kids around the suburbs in my minivan. And, well, here we are. And it's not that bad.