I didn’t realize that tons of people actually had kids and lived in small towns. I just thought that happened in Bruce Springsteen songs about life 50 years ago. A coworker said “What do you think everyone in America does?” And I had no answer.
It weirds me out. Is that happiness? Being surrounded by children all the time, owning a home, having a job that can pay the bills? Having roots? Being tied to a place?
I’ve never felt any pressure to settle down, and I’ve never thought that’d make me happy. I love moving around. I like not having a lot of stuff. But now, Ukrainian Village is the best. The apartment I have now is my best one. So far. But I’m not looking to move away, and that makes me feel off balance.
Everyone I’ve talked to likes their neighborhood over other neighborhoods hands down. I now dress like the people in my neighborhood. So much so that two other girls and I came to a corner at the same time wearing the same thing that I was. I started humming “Little Boxes all the Same” from Weeds to myself. So I think I’ll like what other people like, even if I move to Roger’s Park. Or a town.
I used to like moving around. Is the Uke my version of settling down in the suburbs? Maybe I’m not searching for anything better because I think I’ve found the best that I ever will. But happiness scares me; it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t want to stop moving.
Is perfection death? It seems sort of unamerican. In The Culture Code, the author talks about how in the U.S., we always expand and build new rather than try to do something right the first time. In Japan, perfection is necessary and desirable. In Germany, Legos sold very well because the children followed the instructions very carefully and put together whatever the Legos in the box were made to create. But in the United States, one box of Legos could last for years, because we always want to try new things regardless of directions ensuring the best outcome.
I’ve always gravitated toward cities. I fear strip malls and bland new construction homes. I’m home in the Uke, with the old brick buildings with their occasionally slanty floors, with walkable streets, trees, Ukrainian grocery stores with labels I can’t read, and easy public transportation to somewhere else. And I’m keeping my eyes open for something better.