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When is it Time to Leave the City?

It’s no secret that city life is completely different from suburban life. I’ve talked with many friends about what a challenge it can be to know when to leave the city and how to handle such a big lifestyle transition. Last year, my husband Leo and I found the perfect house in New Jersey. The adjustment wasn’t always easy, but a little over a year later I’m happy to share my journey. I hope it can be helpful for anyone else considering a move to the suburbs.
October 2021
When is it Time to Leave the City?
When is it Time to Leave the City?

Knowing when to leave the city and move to the suburbs is a very personal decision. For some, the transition happens because the children need more space, or a job change would add a lengthy commute. Or maybe, it will happen because you’ll stumble upon the perfect house like my husband and I did. It could even be because you realize you want to step away from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

No matter your reason, taking such a leap is a big decision. I hope by sharing my story (and the questions I asked myself before we made the move) it can help others who are grappling with a similar life change.

Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to live?

It had always been a dream of mine to live by the ocean, so moving away from the city wasn’t a completely unfounded idea. I had been house hunting online, like it was my hobby, until one day my husband Leo and I stumbled on a home that we fell in love with immediately. It was a total fixer-upper, but it was close to the beach and knew it had potential.  

If you are considering a move, think about places you’ve always wanted to live. Knowing we were moving to the beach made it a bit easier for me to let go of everything I love about the city.

What will you miss the most about city life?

There are so many things to do in the city. There are endless restaurants to enjoy, museums to explore, and galleries to check out. I also love that there are tons of vibrant shops and boutiques that are full of talented artisans and interesting points of view. Although I do miss all of those things, our move has made me realize that I’m just as happy with a quiet night at home or a weekend working in our garden. The truth is, even when we were living in the city I didn’t have that much free time. 

And, I still have ties to Philadelphia. I’m looking forward to spending more time in Philadelphia this fall as I return to our office and reconnect with friends who are still in the city. Many people (myself included) get wrapped up in our identity as a ‘city person’, but where we physically live is rarely tied so closely to who we actually are.

What are your fears or worries?

I was worried that it would be a challenge to find hobbies and activities to keep my kids busy since there would be fewer options to choose from. Oddly enough, I actually found this easier in the suburbs. In the city, signing up or even getting to a class with kids can be a challenge. Now, they’ve been able to start weekly art lessons and it’s amazing to see them learn skills so quickly. I’ve even considered starting to learn pottery myself as a fun way to unwind once a week.

Are you ready for a change of pace?

Besides all of the activities we’ve managed to discover, we love so many other things about this new home that set it apart from our old house in the city. For example, there’s nothing better than coming home to sunlight flooding in through the windows radiating warmth, or sitting on our porch to take in nature. 

We have a vineyard that is idyllic, but too much to keep up with at the moment. Over time, we’re excited to learn about all of the trees and bushes on our property and how to take care of them. Along with the greenery, we can appreciate wildlife much more in our new home. My friends and I have gotten really into bird-watching. While we may not know much about the topic yet, we enjoy watching them and noticing their behaviors. I was even inspired to add a bird to our recent pajama print, Eat Your Asparagus.

Can you keep an open mind?

For anyone who is looking to make a similar transition, I’d advise you to keep an open mind. Instead of going out to big events or eating at top-rated restaurants, you might enjoy a small family-owned restaurant or a food truck at a vineyard. Maybe (like us!) you’ll start taking evening walks on the beach as part of your self-care routine, or discover other activities you’d never be able to do in the city. It’s all about trying new things and finding new passions. I never thought I’d be into bird watching, but now I find myself mesmerized by the wildlife around me. 

You might be surprised at how peaceful you can find a home away from the city. 

Have you been considering a move away from the city? What are your dreams for life outside of the city, and what fears do you have in making such a big change? Tell us about it in the comments.

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