(Not) Settling for Life in Suburbia

by Erika Torres

life in suburbia, suburban life, not settling for suburban lifeWith the exception of the minivan, Eric and I are headed straight for a suburbia lifestyle or maybe we’re already there.

We are no longer cool, hip, going out on weeknight newlyweds (although did we ever do that anyway?). We are now two thirty-something adults with real jobs (public affairs for me, firefighter for him) with real salaries and real bills. We have a two-bedroom home. We have a gardener and a bi-weekly cleaning service. We own an SUV and a truck. We vacation about twice a year, and we’re expecting our first little one in less than 5 weeks.

We are an average, nothing-spectacular thirty-something couple with a baby (on the way).

I get pings of jealousy as I watch my friends who live in major cities and live a much faster and cooler-looking lifestyle than I do. Or I watch other friends that work as freelancers or have their own business and get to set their own hours and they’re not tied to a 9-5 lifestyle.

But the pings of jealousy are always brief—an almost daydream of “what if?” Don’t we always wonder about some of our decisions and how things would have been different if we had followed a different path?

What if, six years ago, I had decided to take that job teaching English in Vietnam? Meeting Eric less than three months later would have most likely never happened.

It still boggles me how we have ended up here.

And most surprisingly, I guess, is that despite how ordinary we appear to everyone else, how unbelievably boring our life must seem, how uncharacteristically average we are, I am still immeasurably happy with where we are today.

My greatest joy comes from setting up the nursery and choosing curtain panels and folding baby clothes, while watching my husband build a closet from scratch or setting up the crib. When I walk hand-in-hand with my husband around our neighborhood and I think how just a few years ago we were living in a shack and forced to buy grocery store frozen pizza because we could no longer afford pizza delivery, I know that I never dreamed that this could really be a possibility for us.

How did we get to be so lucky? How does my average-looking life bring me so much happiness and joy?

Some may say that we have settled for a life in the suburbs. But if this is what settling is, I am unbelievably happy with our decision.

I am baffled and amazed by how the choices I have made in my past have led me to where I am today.

And I don’t know how the choices I make in the future will affect where my life will lead.

But I do know one thing for sure: I will never drive a minivan.


Related Posts


Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank October 6, 2015 - 2:37 am

I am glad to know that you both settled in. I and my wife did years back. Up to now, we never regret our decision and make sure that we stick to it no matter what.

tarynkay@gmail.com October 4, 2015 - 12:27 pm

My sister just got a minivan. It is completely awesome and I am super jealous. Not quite jealous enough to take on a car payment for one, but still. Here is my theory: no matter what car you drive, once you strap a car seat in the back, it instantly becomes a minivan. So why not be comfortable? A similar thing is true of diaper bags. You could have a $1200 handbag. Once you stick a sippie cup and some goldfish in there it is just a very expensive diaper bag. Just embrace the things that make your life easier.

Money Beagle October 1, 2015 - 10:24 am

We’ve definitely settled right in, with the two kids (and a cat, not a dog) and so much else. One other thing is that my wife says the same thing, no minivan for her. Ever! Lol!

Michelle September 30, 2015 - 8:00 am

Haha watch out, you may come to love a minivan! I know many people who said they would never get one, then they end up getting one… 🙂

In fact, me and my friends rented a minivan (it was the only thing that would comfortably fit us all) on a bachelorette vacation trip and we all LOVED it.

Sanibel September 30, 2015 - 7:36 am

Hormones, my friend, are making me tear up reading this. I am so happy for you both. What a wonderful journey to have brought both of you two this place. And I am right there with you, if this is settling, I’m cool with that. And never will I have a mini van. 🙂


Leave a Comment