This evening a friend posted a blog about how he got caught up in “settling” into a “grownup” life, which ended due to a personal matter, and caused him to get back into the city and into the music scene in a way that’s made him very happy.  It got me relating, and thinking.

Honestly, living in the ‘burbs does feel a little too Ozzie and Harriet for me.  I’m a city girl at heart.  But on the one hand whereas I love listening to cars whirr by as I fall asleep, on the other, I can do without blasting music upstairs or people drunkenly shouting in foreign languages outside my window.  All things considered, I do love my life.  But I acknowledge that doing right by my son does mean compromises for me.  I’d be devastated for him to grow up anywhere else than where we are, despite the fact that it’s not my personal ideal home.  If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t move to the city and send J to private school and hire a nanny.  That’s not the kind of mother I am.  Nor would I ever be Darla, the mom from The Crow, having so much fun doing drugs and criminals that she doesn’t take care of her kid at all (that would actually be my sister).

I’ve struck a good balance, I think.  “Suburban life” has its cliches, and I seem to have avoided many of them.  Instead of having a house, I have a cute apartment I love.  It’s a quiet neighborhood, but I like knowing my neighbors.  The walk into town is short, and I can get milk and bread by foot, which is one thing I loved about city living.  I’m making more friends, and nobody’s ever as typical as you expect them to be if you look closely enough. I like my job; the only way I’d change it is if I were published, and I’m planning on taking the rest of the year’s leisure time to write after the show is over.  Oh, and yes, the show.  Performing, singing, acting…I love that too.  I have enough money to pay a sitter twice a month so I can go out dancing in Boston.  

So I ask myself – what would I change?  What would I do differently?

What do I really think I’m missing?

Is there something about the other me across space and time who didn’t take this path that makes her happier?

I wish I could go back and flip to page 92 to find out the answer to the other choice.  But I can’t.  I just have to guess. 

I’ve thought about it.  I miss walking to work in heels over cobblestones.  I miss staying out all night and watching the sun rise.  I miss the up-and-down dance of umbrellas on narrow sidewalks.  I miss the skyline.  The blinking blue light of the Pru.  I miss reading on the T.  I miss the way the Financial District empties at 5:00.  But these are all memories.  I don’t need to live them anymore.

I think what it comes down to is that since I can’t just say yes to everything anymore – since I have to consider my son – I wonder if the things I say no to are things I’d otherwise say yes to.  If things I can’t do are things I even would.  I wonder sometimes if I want certain things not because they’re the right thing for me at all, but simply because I’d feel more like I stepped back into her shoes for a while.  But they’re never her shoes.  They never fit, and then I wonder why I’m uncomfortable and hurting.

In my town, every day at noon, the fire station blows its horn twice.  I find that reassuring.  All is well.  Continue with your business.  This is where you are, and this is when it is.