29 March 2011

In which I consider my impending breakup with the City of Chicago

He wants to live in the suburbs. I think I'd rather live in hell.

(Oh wait, I already do. Ha ha, that was another self-depricating Hyde Park joke.)

There are glaringly obvious practical reasons, and they boil down to Chicago being a wretchedly expensive city to reside in. His job is in the suburbs. My future job will probably be in the suburbs. And a reverse commute simply isn't worth it unless you have nice full-time white-collar gig to back it up, but I've given up hope of ever landing one of those again. Either the economy is still unfavorable, or I just suck at everything. I'm going to guess it's the latter, because it seems like every day I read more about how much better the economy is now than back when I still had that wonderful job I loved and was good at doing, before they laid us all off.

Well, in the meantime, I'm a freelance editor, and he builds tractors; we simply cannot afford to live here.

I'm coming to see the city as little more than a playground for ambitious urban professionals and talented members of the creative class (read: yuppies and hipsters). I can no longer pretend to be either of those, but I still hate the thought of leaving this place.

I don't want to be a "suburbanite." It represents a whole philosophy that I've spent my adult life opposing thus far.

But on the other hand, I suppose philosophy is also only for those who can afford it, too.


At 29 March, 2011 08:42, Blogger David Johnsen said...

You left out a group that has to live here: city workers. I sometimes wonder if, on some subconscious level, I married a Chicago police officer just so I wouldn't have to grapple with the possibility of becoming a suburbanite (at least until she retires). Having grown up out there, returning seems like an evolutionary step backward.

At 29 March, 2011 09:47, Blogger Benjamin said...

You're right that Hyde Park is an expensive place to live. Not as expensive as, say, Lincoln Park, but expensive enough. Biut have you thought about one of the more suburban-ish neighborhoods, like Jefferson Park or Mount Greenwood? You still have the pride of living in the city without all (well, some of) the expense.

At 29 March, 2011 09:59, Blogger Sproactually said...

The answer will come. It takes a few days. You just have to be listening to yourself.

I just hope "he who wants to live in the suburbs" understands how different you as a beer drinking bike riding train photographer are than most other women. From my standpoint I see no negatives there. But I messed up my own life by not picking someone that in the long term just did not have enough in common with to make a life together. But I was so young that I had not enough time or life on my own to fully understand myself.

So really think about what you want, and as you make your list, know that you can't change someone, and if that someone is right for you, and will be forever. Than moving might not be so bad. And to trade off being car free, plant your own organic garden and hang your clothes outdoors to dry. I sense that you tend to see things as black and white, on or off. Life and relationships are SO not like that.

At 29 March, 2011 11:10, Blogger jared said...

You really think the suburbs are cheaper? Housing costs may be, but transportation costs are so much higher especially if you go from biking to car ownership.

Have you seen this: http://www.htaindex.org/method.php

At 30 March, 2011 17:50, Blogger Jennifer said...

DJ, you know, lately I've been having these fantasies of somehow getting over my hysterical gun-fear and being a police officer, and I haven't been able to figure out why. Maybe that's one reason. Then again, this also happened two years ago, the last time I was looking for a full-time job, so maybe I'm just craving employment in a profession that people understand is important and grudgingly respect.

At 30 March, 2011 19:27, Blogger Cezar said...

I've lived in the city for 10 years. This summer I'm moving to the suburbs. As someone from Active Transit once told me, "I didn't realize how different each of the suburbs are from each other". There are suburbs with nice downtowns. In some of these you can get good walk/bikability without much effort.

Best thing I can say to do is to looks for places near work and start plugging them into walkscore.com

At 01 April, 2011 02:41, Blogger Jennifer said...

BR: Jeff Park is in the opposite direction from Joliet, so no dice. Mt. Greenwood is located conveniently near absolutely nothing and no closer to the Loop than La Grange, so it would be a tough sell.

Incidentally, what is in La Grange? All I've heard is that I'd be delighted to live there because I could watch BNSF trains all day. At some point I must have shifted from weird bike freak to weird train freak.

Incidentally again, I had more fun in Brookfield than I did in Bucktown last weekend, which begs the question of whether one's address and area code really have that much impact on one's happiness in the end. Certainly hasn't done much for me all this time; I think I just really, really like living by the lakefront.

J: Your arguments are valid but irrelevant in this specific case. He is the one who works nonstandard hours in the middle of the Metra hole; I'm the one who works at home on my own schedule. As long as car ownership by one party is unavoidable, then living in the city is kind of a stupid idea. I just wish it could work out otherwise.

At 01 April, 2011 16:33, Anonymous jami said...

I know several people who live quite happily in the suburbs. As some people post here, there are many suburbs with "downtown" and walkable areas.

There are also many fabulous bike paths out in the suburbs that I'm sure you'll get the chance to enjoy.

Good luck with your decision and relationship.

At 02 April, 2011 02:35, OpenID a2bikegeek said...

Well I'm sure it has passed your mind, but maybe relocation to a new city/metropolitan area may be best. It was the decision I made back at the end of the summer and I am glad I did.

On that note, I moved into a suburb outside of the city. I'm close to work (in the suburb) but have no resemblance of a life or community, I hate it. I am planning on moving into the city this spring.

At 04 April, 2011 14:11, Blogger Terry said...

The pot your growing in is way to small; leave, it is your destiny! (spoken in a mysty Obi Wan voice)


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