Monday, June 10, 2013

Adventures in Suburbia

My life looks a lot different than it did back when I started this blog a million years ago.
A lot different, and a lot better.
Not that this is always apparent to me.

Just a couple of weeks after our return from our honeymoon, we packed up our downtown apartment and moved out to the suburbs where almost immediately I fell victim to a severe crisis of identity.

It did not feel like my home. It did not feel like it ever could be. It was so opposite to all that I held dear - the opportunity to go out, a diversity of experience, the busyness of life, the company of other people. And now here I was, in a beautiful and comfortable home 40 minutes from work where my dogs could run free but my spirit felt stifled.

I panicked.

I would wake up in the new house feeling disoriented and alien.
I could hardly remember the time when on a whim just 2 months earlier I'd actually thought that buying a house was the right and grown up thing to do, couldn't remember feeling like this house, perfect as it seemed in all its newness, was a place where I could really be at peace.

But here we are, 2 years later, and we've just spent our weekend doing what homeowners mysteriously call "working on the house", a time suck impossible to avoid. I could not have imagined that instead of hitting up some boutique shops in advance of a pitcher or two on a patio followed by a night out of breaking in my newest pair of shoes, I'd be weeding flower beds in my little gloves.

We live straddling the city and not-the-city, with a wooded backyard, which runs into marsh, which runs into a nice little bay, which runs into a much bigger river. I like riding my bike around the quiet streets of our neighbourhood, where people wave as they do the same. We play basketball in the driveway and volleyball in the back. We splash in the pool to cool off and fire up the built-in gas oven from Italy when we're hungry. We have more bedrooms than people and a wine cellar in case of emergency. This is who we are now.

The panic attacks stopped. The house became my home. I still love nights out (although not the $60 cab ride home), but I also love a quiet weekend ensconced in front of the fire with a cashmere throw and a glass of wine. Even as we signed our names to the mortgage I never really realized that this part of myself existed. The part that prunes trees and collects paint chips and loves loves loves the dishwasher.

Did our house become us, or did we become the house?


A said...

Wow. This post brought on some deep introspection. Thank you, Jay.

Martini said...

Do you think one day the city will creep up to your doorstep? Urban sprawl always threatens, doesn't it? Maybe one day you'll be in the middle of the action again.

Jude said...

I know what you mean, I lived downtown for a while in this city then moved to suburbia. I have to say I'm happiest now in the suburbs, and although the "working on the house" never ends (when you own it) I prefer this to apartments.

As for the $60 cab rides, you may have to find a cool neighbourhood pub Jay, or take turns doing the designated driver thing maybe?

kenju said...

I have lived in the suburbs for the last 31 years, and while I have loved almost every day of it, I still harbor a desire to live downtown. When my daughter lived in NYC, I loved being able to go out and shop or eat close by, and any time of day or night.

Still, the living is easy here and the parade of wildlife is wonderful to watch.

Jay said...

Martini - you're exactly right. In the small time we've been here we're already seeing it. This city is forever expanding. I'm not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it would be cool to have more stuff about - like a cool neighbourhood pub (we have nothing but dive bars with slot machines in them...these places don't even know what a martini is!) - but on the other hand, it's kind of nice to have trees and water and wildlife about.