We’re all on loan. Our time is borrowed against fate. The chances of us existing are slim, the chances of us continuing to exist are slimmer still. It is against this fortunately miserable backdrop that we plot the course of our lives, our hand guided by time and expectation. The needle of existence dives in and out of experience, weaving the story of us. Of whether this story will end, there is no question; of whether this story can be enjoyed, there are entire philosophies.
We’re told what to do and when, but the reasoning is always circular, the houses are always square, and the shooting is always straight. This is suburbia—a land of right-angled duplicates, where cookie cutter families fill cookie cutter homes, living master planned lives in master planned communities. In theory, we can do whatever we want; in practice, we do what is convenient, constructing our future with respect to the suburban blueprint. We hide our personal beliefs behind gates and hedges and our dreams behind tuition and diplomas. We do so because it’s safe, expected, and all part of the master plan.
My life, as a white American male living fifteen minutes from the beach, is not a hard one. The way forward is easy: tough decisions have been replaced by schedules and dreams have been replaced by goals. College was never negotiable; my dreams of skipping freshman year to bike across the country took a right turn at orthodoxy and never came back.
So now I stand at the corner of my youth, soon to be swept away by the marching mass of suits and 401ks. This corner, though, is expensive. Carnegie Mellon charges $72,000 for it and my aspirations are constantly taxed by the weight of practicality. Why stay? Because it’s easy. But I don’t think I will stay. Screw convenience and screw the plans. Life is too beautiful and our time too short to live cookie cutter lives in cookie cutter homes. The suburban dream may be America’s, but it’s not mine.
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