So here you are… in a house, in the suburbs. You’re still not quite sure how it happened, but somehow, whether it was your job, your partner, or your kids, you were torn from the grip you had on your doorman’s ankles, and now you’re living with more bedrooms than people, more toilets than tushes, and a yard that mocks you and your dead house plants. You know this house was the stuff of someone’s dreams, it just wasn’t necessarily yours. Perhaps it’s the #metoo movement or some other feminist twist, but for me and many of my female clients and friends, the dream of a white picket fence was not our dream. We didn’t want to give up the bustle and vibe of the city, even when sharing a studio with our partner or a one-bedroom with our two kids. In this column, I’ll share this city-girl’s journey toward loving suburbia. It’s not a where-to, more of a how-to… a mind and habit-bend that I hope can help others love it, too!
Whether you’ve moved here with kids or without, the first thing you might feel in these suburbs is a whole heap of loneliness. The friends you’ve cultivated for years have been left behind, or perhaps some made the journey before you to a different town. Most likely, your city friends were spin-offs from college or graduate school, people you met thru work or neighbors in your building. So where do you find your new besties now that you’re no longer in school, perhaps commuting to work and your neighbors are strangers?
Littles are a great gateway to social activities and structure. Once I had my first, I signed up for every library, gymnastics and music class in a three-town radius. This was a great way to meet and, very often, after the class a group would head for lunch at a nearby stroller-friendly place or one of us would host a lunch playgroup. Go to every school meeting you can and sign up for parent committees – even if you’re working, there are opportunities to help out that become opportunities to make new friends. I know not everyone relishes the idea of walking in cold to a group of new faces. It takes a little time and patience. The key is to tamp down the feeling that your soul is withering and slap a mild smile on your face. When others ask how you like the new town you should reply: ‘Pretty good. It’s just a big transition.’ Some will nod knowingly. These are very likely your peeps.
No kids? No problem! Find a book group – my favorites were really short discussions of the book mixed with lots of wine and snacks in someone’s cozy home. Join a tennis league or yoga class – embrace the easy access to sports in the ’burbs! There are fabulous meet-ups for hikes in local parks, kayaking, wine-tasting, you name it. You won’t meet your new friends sitting in your new house so get out there and soon you’ll find that there is life and friendship outside the city. You’re not alone out here – you’ll find your kindred souls, just like I did!
Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear how you went about making new friends and otherwise settling in. Or share the struggles that you’ve had adjusting knowing you’re not alone!
Hillary is a city girl-turned-suburban mama and a social worker-turned-realtor who focuses on the transition over the transaction. As a top-producer with Hillary’s Homes at Houlihan Lawrence, she has clearly embraced life in the suburbs! Check Hillary out on Facebook too!