Suburbs of Misery
Stay Out of Misery
- Open your mind
- Try something new
- Live life on your own terms
- And have przygodas!
Columbus Visits of the Past
When I go home, I see that people that stayed in Columbus and had kids are progressively looking more and more miserable as time goes on. What I saw as happy, bright-eyed couples turned to something more depressing when I went home to visit.
First, it started with me coming to visit – let’s all go out! And then…let’s just meet at Roosters (the best wing place in Ohio). And then…nothing. People had moved so far out into the suburbs, they couldn’t make it out. I think their sofas held them hostage. Then they had kids…so no babysitters.
In the end, I stopped trying to schedule anything and just sat on the couch with my dad and watched Arrested Development marathons. (I guess the sofa ultimately won with me also). At the time, I lived in Chicago, and every day was a party. So when I went home, I actually looked forward to the pace of a tv show marathon and spending time with my dad – it was an actual vacation for me.
After moving away 15 years prior, G and I recently went to visit Columbus. After my nephew’s 3rd birthday party, I noticed that no one under 50 seemed that happy. Now I didn’t ask them outright. This was truly an observation – them 10 years ago and them now.
I remember seeing these younger couples full of life and fun when they were younger, just 10 short years ago. And then, multiple kids, bigger houses, more money later, they look like zombies.
I won’t go into the details, but it really struck me as sad. It prompted G to recap the night to my mom, saying, “The amount of misery that’s in the suburbs….” And then, surprisingly, my mom interrupted and agreed, “Isn’t it just terrible?!” (Separate story on how she knew this piece of information but did not readily share it with others. In my opinion, she’s part of the problem).
The solution to the problem is for everyone to be very upfront and honest with people about what society tells you is the “perfect life.” Yes, you get this with a big house and kids, but then there’s also this…But most people only get to know the sweet part of the deal, not the sour. It almost feels like we’re brought up believing a lie because of this omission of the truth.
Enough About Others, What About Me?
It’s the central theme I’m trying to get across in my blog – you’ve been sold a lie, time to take life into your own hands. Don’t get me wrong, if the life you’re living is making you happy, then I’m happy. But if you’re miserable trying to achieve the “perfect life,” then it’s time to be honest with yourself (since, as noted above, no one else will).
And there’s no time better than the present, seriously. The apocalypse will come in approximately 2050, and this chance will be gone. We’ll be too busy bartering for some sort of fuel or ammunition to worry about our “happiness.”
How did I develop this passion for travel? Well, we had a globe and an encyclopedia set that was the equivalent to me of an iPad in today’s terms. I went to Epcot 2x to really put myself in those global traveler’s shoes. And then my parents gave me a large suitcase as a high school graduation present.
Note: This suitcase was practical because I needed it to pack for college. And my mom confirmed that they couldn’t afford anything else. So there wasn’t an underlying meaning of exploring the world as I had always thought.
But, it also helped me associated a big suitcase with an exciting new adventure. Graduation. Moving to college, and then the next place. Learning things as I go. I was becoming a better person and living a fulfilling life all through travel.
What I Know for Certain
I really believe in self-transformation through exploration. For me – it’s travel. For other – it may be something else. Instead of just wanting things, choose to do it! I try to give people digestible bits and pieces, so they don’t overhaul their life in one swoop without testing it out or thinking about it.
And, weird enough, it’s not from experience or study. It’s all from premonition and temptation. The temptation to live life on the road most traveled so that I wasn’t different. I didn’t have to be in the desert for 40 days to see it either, Just regular check-ins that ask, “Do you want it to be/live like this forever?”
The thought of living a perfect life in Columbus – as good as you could have – was still scary to me. I wanted to see the world. And I didn’t want to be with someone who wasn’t willing to do the same thing. I wasn’t finding him in Columbus (um, I wasn’t meeting anyone in Columbus), so I had to leave. Not only to find that other person, but people that didn’t think going out to a club at 25 yrs was sad…because you’re old.
I pulled out the graduation suitcase for more exciting adventures. Suburbs Columbus, Chicago, Seattle, Oakland…and then Jamaica, Italy, and TBD. Everywhere I went, I started meeting more and more people doing the same thing as I was. Getting married later. Being educated. Studying abroad. Wanting to live somewhere else. Driven. It was a breath of fresh air. And I didn’t feel so different. I felt inspired.
As a result, I started associating a suitcase, exploration, and the unknown with excitement. There’s a Polish word for adventure – “przygoda.” We say it together every time we’re doing something new. That’s all I want for others too – to feel exploration and excitement for their new przygoda.