Sunday, 20 July 2014

The suburbs will kill you

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The suburbs. 
When you look at the picture above, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Bliss? The desire that one day, you want to live in one of those houses?
Or is it deep, abject horror and the sudden urge to run the opposite direction, as far away as possible?

My newfound interest and fascination with the suburbs comes from the show Weeds. Like with most things in life I am joining the party fashionably late - 9 years late to be exact. Guys, I started watching it yesterday, and I'm totally hooked. Not only by the story (which I LOVE), but by life in the suburbs.
(Look at the theme song. It is perfection.)


Now, before I get started, I feel the need for some sort of disclaimer. I have never lived in the suburbs myself, so I don't know how it really is. It may be the most wonderful life ever: kids playing together in the streets, neighbours having BBQs and street parties, the wives meeting up for power walks and coffee, the husbands going golfing on the weekends.
So if you live in the suburbs and you love it, that's great. Really, what do I know?

But to me it looks like one prettily manicured, landscaped and liposuctioned version of hell.
The houses are so close together. You are never really alone: when you are in your backyard, the neighbours can hear and see you. You are surrounded by them on all sides! So long topless sun bathing or peeing in your own backyard. Lighting a little bonfire is out of the question. And where would one put the peacocks?

What are the suburbs anyway? Not city, not village, they are this strange in-between. Artificially created with no town centre, no focal point where life evolves around. No stores, theatres, coffee shops or any other kind of entertainment nearby. No public transportation. But also no fields, forests or any other open spaces. Maybe there are parks? I hope so.

But what really gets me is the competitiveness that is always depicted in shows. Is it like that in real life? Who has the nicest kitchen, the most expensive purse, the most successful husband. Whose yard looks best. Even if you don't want to participate, I imagine it is difficult trying to stay out of it. Because you can't physically retreat. You and your house are right there, in the midst of it, visible to everyone. What a terrifying thought! I would lose spectacularly. With a kitchen that's 30 years old, a bunch of no-name purses, and a husband that never wears a suit.

While I like to believe that I would never care about these things, I don't think that's the truth. If you are surrounded by it day after day, year after year, it will affect you. It is impossible not to. After a period of time, I would start looking at my dated kitchen, and start seeing all the things it is lacking. I would compare it to the other, much nicer ones, and would feel that mine is inferior.

You have probably heard the saying: "Tell me who your friends are and I tell you who you are."


I truly believe that.
So I guess today's lesson is this: Choose with intention the life you want to live, and the people you want to live it with. We are a product of our choices, and our life will be shaped by our surroundings.
I chose to live a farmlife, because being around animals soothes me and gives me tremendous pleasure and happiness. (Plus, I really like to pee in my backyard. There is just something about feeling the breeze on your bare bum...)
Obviously, it is not for everyone though. Choose what's right for you, what will help you on your journey towards becoming the person you want to be.

And that's my lesson for the day. When I started writing this post, I had no idea what I wanted to say. I had nothing else, and it really was a cop-out. Who would have thought that Weeds can bring something out after all? I told you, it's a great show.
But you already knew that.

Any revelations you want to share? Link up below!

Have a great Sunday everyone!
xo Miriam

The School of Life


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8 comments

  1. Love this post, Miriam! I totally agree with you. The suburbs suck. I think it is exactly like that. I have lived there myself. Enough is never enough. Right now, we live in a condo which I love, but don't get me wrong, it is its own personal kind of hell. I can't even get the dog I want cause all the good ones are against the rules nevermind something as amazing as a peacock.

    Also, thanks so much for following me over to my new space! My first post goes live tomorrow. Eek! ;-)

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  2. My family lived in the suburbs until I was about ten years old, and we moved to the country. That is where my parents live now, and I love going home because it is such an escape from the city life I live now. I always go back and forth as to whether or not I am a city or a country girl. I do know, however, that I am not a suburb girl. Eric and I will be moving soon, and living in an actual neighborhood, but the houses are not cookie cutter, and the local restaurants and shops are full of character. I can live with that. One day, though, I would love to live in the country again. I loved this post, Miriam!

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  3. I NEVER want to live in the burbs!! I'm also not very interested in the country either. I grew up having to drive 30 minutes to the store (no thank you). I like real neighborhoods, where you can walk to a shop, restaurant, and of course bar :) a brewery is not bad either. I don't think I ever finished watching the full series of Weeds.

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  4. I have lived in the suburbs all my life including now. I joke that I live in Cow-Town but it is really a suburb and while many places are like you described above, not all are. Also, I laughed when you said you enjoyed peeing in your backyard. 1) because I could never imagine peeing in my backyard . . . 2) you are so right. Your neighbors would see. Especially if your neighbors have a 2 story house. Haha

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  5. I grew up in the suburbs and hated it, all I could do was think about leaving when I was old enough! Luckily now I live right on the edge of a forest and love it!!

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  6. burbs of today are even scarier than the burbs of my childhood... i would never choose it but in this real estate market, some people don't have a choice. but hope is in the way, urban planning seems to be improving by leaps and bounds !!!

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    1. That's great news!! The suburbs wouldn't be so bad if they are structured more like small towns, with a town centre, some shops and restaurants. I'm glad that improvement is on its way!

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  7. Have you read Babbitt? I call those types of houses and neighborhoods "Babbitt culture". It's a good book - conformity and the desire to think of oneself as unique but really be absolutely exactly like everyone else in your circle.

    -Amy

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