OK, hear me out. I loved growing up in the suburbs of the Bay Area. There was nothing I loved more than getting to know my neighbors and being able to run around my neighborhood carefree at a young age.
I loved feeling like I knew basically everyone in my city. I didn’t, of course. But running into people you know everywhere you go sure does give you that feeling.
With all that there is to love about growing up in the suburbs, I have come to realize that there are many things that I wish I could have experienced by growing up in a big city.
For starters, I realized that because I grew up in such a small and safe city, I often find myself anxious or nervous for my safety in big cities. It is, of course, important to be cautious no matter what city you are in. However, with that being said, I think that I can sometimes be irrationally fearful when I truly have no reason to be.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION! But I mean, who really knows how to use it? Just kidding! A lot of people do! Now, don’t get me wrong. I took the train and muni (bus) to and from work every day this summer. However, I quickly learned that while I was in New York and Chicago this summer for vacation, I often found myself staring at the transit maps in complete confusion. It shouldn’t be that hard, right? Right.
I feel as though people who grew up in big cities have a sort of “thick skin” to them, so to speak. I can’t really tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but it fascinates me. They have this sense of independence that starts at a young age, and it is something that I truly admire. Maybe this is me completely misinterpreting the situation, but I think a certain personality comes with growing up in a big city.
Ok, maybe all of these problems are character flaws that I have within myself. Nonetheless, I do believe that where I grew up (not the specific city, just the suburbs) attributed to that a fair amount.
I want my kids to grow up knowing how to use public transportation. I want my kids to grow up and be very aware of their surroundings and understand how to take care of themselves in a big city on their own.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to throw my 7-year-old child out the front door alone and be like “OK sweetie, have fun on your commute!”
But, as they grow older, I want them to have a sort of independence that took me too long to find on my own in my small city.