It's a lovely Spring day. You dress your 13 month old daughter in some play pants and a top, throw a little sunblock and a sunhat on her, take her out into your private back yard and sip some lemonade while she crawl/walks after your cats and dogs. Later, after she's pooped herself out, you throw some clothes in the washer and start up the dishwasher, then hang out on the front porch with the baby monitor, chatting on the phone with your mom while she naps. When she wakes up, you grab a snack for her and then drive to Target, where you get the stuff you need -- cheaply and quickly. Your daughter's in an easy-going mood, so you also hit the grocery store and pick up some supplies to make an extra special dinner. The aisles at the supermarket are spacious, filled with any and every product your heart could desire. There's no line at the checkout counter, and the friendly employee behind the register lets you use all your coupons without raising an eyebrow. You drive home and play out in the yard a little longer while you wait for the husband to come home from work. The sun is setting, the yard looks great, your daughter isn't afraid of grass or bugs, you have no ugly, psychotic neighbor living above you who'll wake you up at night, your car has its own parking spot -- all is right with the universe.
That's the scenario that's been running through my head a lot now that the weather is nicer. A yard. A simple yard. Something I was so used to as a kid has now become a personal Mecca for me. Not to mention a parking spot, my own personal washer/dryer and dishwasher, and the ease of living and lower cost of living that come with moving outside of the Big Apple.
However, I must constantly remind myself that the grass is always greener. It can be really easy to romanticize others' lives, making me constantly pine for what I don't have, never content with what I do.
So I've decided to use this blog as a very public pros/cons list of city living versus country living. You can feel free to weigh in with your own comments if you like, but just know that if you're my family, your comments don't count due to your ulterior motives. (I should show you the real estate ads for spacious homes, sometimes with swimming pools and the like, that my family sends to me from Kentucky. The tragic thing is these near-mansions cost the same if not less than the three bedroom apartments we're scoping out.)
Living in New York City:
*You get to say, "I live in New York City." Come on. Tell me that isn't cool.
*You are surrounded by the best art, music, theater, and dance our country has to offer.
*Life is not boring here. Ever.
*In Brooklyn in particular, you get to be a part of a community. I see the same folks at our library's storytime and at the playground, folks whose kids are becoming Stella's friends, and that's cool
*Piggybacking on that prior comment, you don't feel isolated. I actually feel safer living close to others than secluded in the country.
*You have a much smaller carbon footprint when you live in a city -- public transportation, smaller abodes, etc.
*We're close to the ocean!
*Bronx Zoo. Aquarium. Children's museums. Prospect Park Carousel. It's good to be a kid here.
*It's easier to be in shape here. I walk an average of 3 miles per day. Sure, I could probably do that anywhere, but it's much easier if you don't have a choice.
*The best food in the world is in NYC. Don't even try to argue with me about that one.
*I have an awesome job at an awesome school to go back to one day.
*Dave has a great job here currently.
*If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere.
*Geez Louise, is it expensive here! Real estate prices are coming down, but I still can't find a decent 3 bedroom apartment in a safe neighborhood for less than $400,000. That's still about $150,000 too much.
*Crime and pollution and the like abound.
*It can be dirty, depending on the neighborhood.
*It's almost impossible to find a place with a yard.
*It's hard to find a place with parking. We pay stupid money in parking tickets.
*Simple tasks -- like going to the store, buying clothes, going to the doctor -- are just insanely complicated here due to traffic, public transportation, overcrowding, etc.
*Damn, this place is LOUD. Constantly loud.
*We're REALLY far away from my family and not terrible close to Dave's.
*You live in really close quarters with folks who are sometimes insane.
Living in a more suburban/rural area (Such as the suburbs of Nashville for my family or Montclair, NJ for Dave's):
*Space -- lots of it -- inside and out.
*Yards are normal occurrences.
*Parking spots are normal occurrences.
*Washer/dryers and dishwashers are commonplace.
*People tend to be friendlier.
*It's not crowded and there's less traffic.
*Everything is cheaper.
*Life, in general, is easier and less stressful.
*There's usually less crime.
*I personally can feel very isolated and lonely very fast in the country.
*You usually can't walk to stores or restaurants, and I love walking around.
*I get bored very easily, and there's usually less stuff going on in the country.
*These areas tend to be less diverse, and I really want Stella to grow up around diversity in all its forms.
*You have to take care of that yard and that house that you own. No coop board is there to save you, no landlord will mow your yard for you.
*I get freaked out about people breaking into my place and nobody being around to hear me yell. (I've seen way too many horror movies, it's true.)
*You can't just wake up on a Saturday, flip through Time Out New York, and decide to catch the cheap "They Might Be Giants" concert at Prospect Park.
*You don't get to say, "I live in New York City" at your high school reunion.