Ah, suburbia. It’s where many move from the city to grow a family, getting away from all that hustle and bustle. Suburban life is weird, though. Between rural and urban, it’s hard to define, but I’ll give you a hint: a lot of houses. Growing up in suburbia is like being a part of club—one that you’re born into whether you like it or not.

1. Everyone’s house looked exactly the same


Before Google Maps, you probably had some trouble finding a friend’s house, because every single one of them look exactly the same. You’ve been in more cul-de-sacs than you would like to admit, and you probably strongly identified with Weeds‘ intro with Malvina Reynolds’ song “Little Boxes.”

2. You had to drive everywhere

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Because it would just be too simple if you could walk somewhere, right? It’s almost guaranteed when you move to the suburbs that there will be nothing in walking distance. Even if you want to go to a convenient store, you’d probably have to drive.

3.  And there were speed bumps everywhere

Everything is residential. You’d love to go over 25 miles per hour, but not when you’re constantly going up and down. Even if you’d like to have a little fun on the road, you can’t.

4. You’ve parallel parked once: on your driver’s test

And when they asked you to do it on the test, you thought, “when will I ever use this?” And you were right, because you’ve never used it. There’s no need for parallel parking when everyone has driveways and malls have parking decks.

5. Excitement was going to Costco with your parents

The weekend trips to Costco or Sam’s Club was the definition of an outing. Who needs camping or “real” adventure when you have discount jumbo-sized toilet paper?

6. Carpooling was life 

You and your friends mastered the “my mom can drive, if yours can pick up.” You had to coordinate and sell your parents on driving you places, because there was no way you’d be able to hang out without carpool coordination.

7. You knew which roads you could speed on

There were so many different routes you could take home, and you knew exactly where all the cops posted up. Nine times out of ten, you or a friend had a relative who was a cop anyway.

8. You were always bored growing up

Living residential may be nice for young kids, but its hard for teenagers. Especially without your license, you’re pretty much landlocked until your parents come home from work. And even if you were to go out, what would you even do?

9. You always wanted to hang out at other people’s houses

So even though you’d be doing the exact same thing at their house, you always wanted to go. At least that change of atmosphere would be somewhat more exciting while you watch TV.

10. You looked forward to the summer pool party

If you didn’t have a pool, you definitely knew someone that did. Those pool parties were the highlight of the summer, and actually gave you something to do. Everybody who was anybody got invited (I’m sorry if you weren’t, they were petty anyway).

11. You spent way too much of your time and money at the mall

What is there to do in the suburbs? Shop! And even when you weren’t shopping, the mall was a classic hangout spot.

12. Other than the mall, you spent a lot of time in parking lots

Yeah, it sounds strange to everyone else, but when there was nowhere to go, your local mall or 7/11 parking lot was just as good as any. You made loitering kind of an art.

13. Seeing high school rivals in the mall made you so angry 

Even for those uninvolved in sports, rival schools were serious business. And what were they doing in your mall? Well, your rival school was actually only a few miles away, but still you hated seeing those varsity jackets strut around like they owned the place.

14. Lawn mower alarm clocks

City kids may have ambulances, but we have lawnmowers and birds. Of course you needed to trim the grass early Saturday morning right out side of my window. You needed to do that, right?

15. Everyone knows your business 

Names float around those suburban circles. Suburbia’s boring, and gossip can sometimes be the only form of entertainment. This also means that there is rarely any privacy.

16. You’re so excited when your town is on the news

Any mention of your town in the media excites you, because it’s recognition! Since no one’s ever heard of where you’re from, you even get excited you hear that a town close to you is on the news. If it’s mentioned a TV show, a movie, or a book, you’re literally the happiest person ever. If someone relatively famous is from your town, you also make a huge deal out of it.

 17. You were always dreaming of an escape

Because you always knew that there was something bigger out there for you. Suburbia was not your limit. But, as painful it might be to admit it, you might come back yourself.

18. You idealized growing up in other places

Have you ever caught yourself saying “I wish I could just get out of this town.” Well, yeah, so have all us suburban kids. We dreamt of moving to the city or a farm—anything other than this. But, as you may know now, no place is perfect, and we idealized those other places.

19. You have a complicated relationship with the nearest city

When someone asks you where you’re from, you give them the name of the nearest city. Then they ask you which part, and you spend 15 minutes explaining to them your complicated relationship with the city even though you’re not technically from there.

20. The most public transportation you’ve experienced is a school bus

Even though you would possibly love to be a city kid, public transportation is incredibly confusing to you. The reality of riding a train or bus to work is definitely a foreign concept. No matter how much you’ve visited your nearest city, your school bus is the only public transportation you’ve really known.

21. No one’s ever heard of the town you’re from

So when someone asks you where you’re actually from, you say “you won’t know it.” They go, “Try me.” Rolling your eyes, you tell them, and guess what! They’ve never heard of it.

22. You will always be a suburban kid

No matter where you move to or what job you take, you will always have that little bit of suburbia in you. You will remember all those bored nights that you spent in dimly lit parking lots and the times you went to the mall just because it was something different from school or home. There’s always a little pride in our pasts, even if you’ve moved on.

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  • Ryanne Berry is currently a junior at Oberlin College, majoring in English Literature and Religion. She hopes to pursue a career in publishing and editing. Ryanne loves being busy all the time, drinking excessive amounts of caffeine, and watching romantic comedies with her friends.