"EVERYBODY'S INSANE with loneliness, but that’s OK. After a while you realize that’s part of the edge.”
(One Chicago-to-NYC transplant to another, as related at gapingvoid)
I'm a suburbanite -- raised out here, returned to the burbs, maybe to stay -- and I really feel no need to defend it, as if it were a crime.
Cities are part substance, and also in part, hype. The quintessential example, of course, is NYC. I rolled through last summer with a friend, hanging out in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Several young single folks I met (one a former Winnetka-ite) implicitly or explicitly expressed that part of the virtue of living there is the feeling of being strengthened and purified by the struggle. It's that old "make it here/make it anywhere" thing. My thought is, the world is full of opportunities to fight for something. Who said you should have to spend all your energy just fighting to pay rent, and maybe have a couple bucks left over for beer? (Forget the hipster diet of coffee and cigarettes -- $13 a pack for organic American Spirits? Forget it.)
There is definitely something of the masochist in the whole mindset. The myth becomes self-fulfilling prophecy: at some point you're just going to NYC because, essentially, you responded to the advertising. "They" (i.e., media and tastemakers, many of whom, coincidentally, reside in New York) say it's the place to be. So, you conform.