Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Guess Suburbia Ain't So Bad

The title is the name of a song I wrote in my old band “The Bad Chemicals”. It’s reminiscent of a time when I was living in Detroit (the city, not the area) and Chicago bound. I thought I’d never want to live in the suburbs and I think that that perception was informed primarily by movies and TV. The lyrics are a (not so) subtle and tongue in cheek description of the boring life of two people married and living in the suburbs. It was truly how I felt at the time. 

But why did I think this way? I can’t put my finger on it. Here, I’ve lived in the “big city” for 5 years now and I long for the suburbs every day. Not necessarily the suburbs, but for the people that moving back to my home state could provide me with. I’m gearing up for the next section of my life. A section that I used to mock with my peers.

 I can remember saying to a friend while at a bar one night “It’s so depressing to be Facebook friends with people I went to high school with. Just looking at them with kids and houses and stuff, ugh.” Of course, I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

 Now, I’m craving that. I want my own house. Maybe I won’t ever be a homeowner, but I’d like a bigger place that I can decorate. I’d like to have some spare rooms where Kristen could work out and I could do whatever I would do if I had an office. I’d like to have a garage where I can keep the half finished projects I will try to build.

 I want to have a kid. Not right away of course, there’s still things I think I should do first, but I’m looking forward to it. A little me that I can introduce to Star Wars, The Muppets, The Simpsons, and Batman. Sure, I’m ignoring all the challenges of parenthood, but if I didn’t focus on the fun stuff, I don’t think I’d ever go through with it.

There’s something in me that says that moving back to Michigan would signify failure. I constantly get confused glances and “Why would you do that?”. But in Michigan I see potential that I haven’t seen here in a while. I feel like I’ve learned a lot and met a lot of great people while I was here and there are of course things that I’ll miss. But whenever that stuff gets me down, I think back to this past weekend.

The wife and I were in Frankenmuth for my good friend Matt’s wedding, in which I was best man. I got to spend two days in a hotel with my wife and all of my best friends.  I got to experience sore throats and sore sides from 3 hour conversations and laughing until I couldn’t breathe. I got to watch my wife integrate with my friends in a way she never had before. She wasn’t there because she was married to me. She was there because these people love her as much as I do and she loves them. She was one of the gang. There were people who understand me. I felt fulfilled. I felt motivated. More than anything, I felt creative. I felt like I could do anything. I had confidence.

This is not to say I’m not happy in my life right now. I’ve got an amazing wife who takes care of me when I need to be taken care of and often times even when I don’t. She loves me despite the fact that I consider Wednesday a sacred day because I have to go pick up my comic books. She loves me when I let grease drip into the oven and then set off the smoke alarm. She encourages me to run with ideas when I have them (I just lack motivation and judge my ideas to harshly). I have a handful of friends who will come over to our apartment to eat pizza and play board games. I have a decent job and a decent apartment. This is not about any of those things because I know that, God willing, I’ll always have those things. It’s just about a change of pace.

I owe Chicago a great debt of gratitude. Without Chicago, I don’t think Kristen and I would have gotten married. It gave us a necessary push to move in together, to support each other when no one else would, and to grow as a couple. Chicago is where I succeeded (a rare thing for me) at a lofty goal that I set for myself. It also showed me that sometimes, the thing you want the most is not going to be that great once you get it and that that’s OK too. It taught me how to be a grownup. I’ll carry those lessons with me wherever I go, and I hope to keep learning for however long I’m here. So you may be loud, you may be smelly, and you may have driven me a little bit crazy, but Chicago, you’ve been absolutely vital in my development and for that I thank you. I think we’re just growing apart.

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