Growing up in the shadow of New York City, I’ve been to the Big Apple more times than I can count. The hustle and bustle of ‘burb life shaped and molded who I am. When people talked of “the city,” I always assumed NYC. I’ve been to Philly, Vegas, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, DC, Atlanta, Orlando, San Diego and many more, but every city is a village compared to NYC.
In my old burb, the difference between towns was indistinguishable. In this forgotten land, dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains with no end in sight. It’s honestly a terrible existence, always in a rush, the hurry up and wait lifestyle. The property taxes alone would make your head spin and the “pay to play” mindset wasn’t my personal cup of tea, but it was all I knew.
After college, many of my friends (and likely many of you) flocked to the big city. Hell, my part time employer is in the fine city of Austin. I did the opposite. I did something that I never thought I’d do: I moved to the country and I haven’t looked back.
You see, with country living, life is much slower. Some people will hate it, but after being raised in the fast lane, not only do I have the advantage of my normal speed being faster than the average person, but it is less tasking on yourself to live where everyone moves as slow as molasses. I am at least 75% less stressed out not having to time my life around traffic patterns or be one shitty driver causing an accident away from being an hour late to work. People’s idea of “traffic” here is waiting for 15 minutes due to construction. It once took me three hours to make it from Yankee Stadium to the George Washington Bridge.
My commute in my former life was an hour and a half to go 50 miles. My commute now is 15 minutes to go five miles. Sure, I don’t make as much money, but my townhouse’s taxes are $450 a year. Living outside of city limits is awesome. Back home, my parents paid around $10,000 in property taxes for a small bi-level house in the burbs.
Don’t let the lesser wages fool you. While job availability may be less in country areas, the lower cost of life as well as wear and tear on your psyche make it way worth it. In the end, it usually balances out. If you can swing being in the country, I highly recommend it.
I’ve heard many arguments both for and against country living. The job hunt seems easier where there are more places of employment. A childhood friend of mine buses into and out of NYC every day, an astounding three hours of his day seated on a bus. The guy that used to work in my office moved to NYC. He pays over $1,000 a month to live in a shoebox. That kind of life just doesn’t seem appealing to me.
The idea came to me on the toilet, where many of my greatest ideas come from. Looking out the window, at beautiful sky, flora and fauna around the forest line, and hills that will soon be covered in wildflowers, I was pumped. Many people’s daily morning or evening bowel movement occurs in a tiny flat surrounded by skyscrapers in a shitter that is the same size a phone booth. To some, maybe that’s heaven. To me, I love looking out my front door seeing cows grazing. There is a certain serenity about being in nature and for me, that’s all I need.
Many times, people move out to the country later in life to escape the concrete jungle. Some people love being in the burbs and wear it as a proud patch on their arms. When we’re lucky, we even get esteemed burb connoisseur and renowned Mr. Bean doppelgänger Dillon Cheverere to explain some happenings in the world from the perspective of a white dad from the burbs.
To be fair, I’d say The Burbs is one of Tom Hank’s finest movies, but that’s a whole different story. Some of us are a little bit country, others rock and roll. The burbs keep growing and the country keeps shrinking. Technically, where I live is on the cusp of a burb and it frightens me. Sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small, can we ever get away from the sprawl?.
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