It’s interesting how this topic has opened a line of dialogue on the subject of suburbanites/ urbanites, parenting choices, lack of choices, financial realities. I’ve heard from some that they’re quite happy with their decision to leave an urban environment. I’ve heard from others that they’re resolute on staying in a city. And then, the rare exceptions of those that did indeed leave, but are attempting to come back.
Off the top, as I mentioned before, there are financial realities to most of the top metropolitan areas that can make living in cities long-term, simply out of the question. Quite honestly, this really bums me out. Particularly, when I contemplate the plight of the public school system. However, this is the reality for now and it can’t be ignored.
With that as a given, and moving beyond that for a moment, I do find it interesting HOW people make the decision to stay, let’s say for the purposes of illustration, in San Francisco or choose to move, given that they have the choice to make. And I do think much of it comes down to perceptions and visions of what their life perhaps should be like or could be like. I contemplated some of the many conversations that I’ve had personally over the years and listed some samples of what I’ve heard.
Viewpoints from discussions I’ve had over the last decade include:
– “If have to move out of District X (a particular neighborhood designation in SF), then we might as well move out of the city.” A choice.
– “A proper home for my family includes a large backyard and a room for every child.” A choice.
– “Why would anyone want a yard? I don’t have time for gardening and yard work.” A choice.
– “It’s important to me that my kids can walk to school.” A choice.
– “It’s most important that the parents are happy in their living environment since that affects the whole disposition of family life.” A choice.
– “It’s most important that the kids are happiest in their living environment since the parents are willing to sacrifice for the betterment of their child’s upbringing.” A choice.
– “Small living quarters keep our kids grounded and reinforces the family bond since family members aren’t tucked into far off corners of the house.” A choice.
– “Once kids reach a certain age, you must have more space or you’ll kill each other!” A choice.
– “You must own a home before you have a baby.” A choice.
– “I want my kids to play sports. Where do people gather for school sporting events in the city?” A choice.
– “I’d prefer my kids drive as little as possible. Why would I move somewhere where these new drivers are always in their cars?” A choice.
Given that these discussions are quite timely in our household, I find everyone’s decisions and reasonings fascinating and educational. And the other interesting tidbit I’ve gleaned over the years is how often a household is divided with one, for lack of a better term, City Mouse and one Country Mouse. In my experience, the Country Mouse always wins out, I surmise, due to the pragmatic and logical realities of staying in the city. Put another way, without equal partner support to embrace the intangibles of the city, it IS difficult to argue the math. In fact, you can’t.
Much of what I’ve been musing over in terms of writing for this blog is the celebration of some of those intangibles from my past decade and half here and those situations in our present state. Again, this all representing our thinking as it is today.
I celebrate, recognize and respect those that have made all kinds of living situation decisions for their families as these are typically woven into a rich tapestry comprising emotions, logic, value judgments, life visions and goals. And I do love to hear and witness how perceptions may bend or shift slightly over time.
As such, I’d love to hear any other thoughts on this topic or issues raised above. It seems many of us are already in the midst of the discussion and I’ve love to see it continue.
Until next time,
The City Mouse