“Take every opportunity to unburden yourself of urban life when you can. Its clutter makes you old.” ~Oria Douglas-Hamilton, wildlife conservationist, age 80
So I’ve lived most of my life in the country, surrounded by farms and fields and livestock. I grew up with crayfish (old abandoned drainpipes = best place to find them) and tractor pulls (our John Deere won!) and skinny dipping after midnight in the neighbor’s pond (beyond a slack barbed-wire fence, across a cow pasture, past an old barn leaning to one side, our clothes hung from the low branch of a nearby pine tree).
I’ve lived in the city too, Chicago to be exact, and I can tell you (& prove to you) that without a doubt country-living beats city living. Every single time. Period. Here’s why:
Nothing is as amazing as drinking coffee on the deck and watching the sun rise over the trees, making the leaves, in autumn, look like they’re on fire. Or watching the fog roll over the fields, in and out, like breathing. Or spending a summer afternoon walking through the woods while the sun filters through the leaves and sitting by the stream and watching a leaf eddy behind a rock. Or if you prefer, a summer afternoon sitting in a hayfield, feeding ammunition into a rifle, plunking cans off a split-rail fence. Or standing in an easy snow fall during winter (like a gentle shake of a snowglobe) and listening to the utter, utter quiet, nothing moving, not even you. Nothing is as amazing as watching the sun pink up the sky like a jewel just before it sinks below the rim of the horizon. Or sitting on the porch steps in the soft dark of dusk with a glass of lemonade and listening to the crickets start their chirping with a sound like the flare from a hundred matchsticks. Or when the sky’s gone a satiny black, and you tip your face up to the million stars spattered as far as you can see and you realize what matters most.
There are very few things quite as delicious as sitting barefoot and cross-legged in the dirt between the rows of the garden and eating tomatoes plucked right from the vine. Or string beans you picked just a few minutes before you cooked them. Or cobs of corn, the kernels yellow and plump, that haven’t sat for days on a truck being delivered then sat some more in a grocery-store bin but instead came from your own backyard. Or apples plucked from a tree in your front yard then made into a crumb-topped pie. Or kicking your feet up on the back deck and eating watermelon (so fresh the juice just dribbles down your chin) that you grew yourself and spitting seeds into the grass where more melons will take root and grow by the end of summer.
Living in the country gives you room to move, to roam. And that will lower your stress. You won’t feel caged in, suffocated, trapped by all the buildings/people/busyness/stuff around you. You’ll be able to breathe deep and get a nose full of clean air and wildflowers and fresh-cut grass. But you can move fast if you want to, like driving 110 mph down an empty road with the radio cranked and the windows open and the air rushing past your face. Or medium, like galloping a horse across the low slope of a pasture with your hair flying out behind you. Or slow, like driving your tractor with the orange hazard-lights flashing down that same empty road (& people who know you honking hello as they drive by). The pace of life in general leans toward more laid-back. And when you slow down, you’ll see that you have time to think & your life gets richer.
And if you’re still not convinced, here’s something practical to chew on: Cost of living
It’s way less. WAY less. No parking meters (so you don’t need to carry a roll of quarters with you) or parking lot fees (say goodbye to $80+ a month). No tolls (doesn’t cost you a dime to drive on the road). Teenage babysitters that charge $2/hour. Healthcare professionals who charge a little more than $50 for a visit. Spending less than a $100 to feed a family of four for a week. Most people are on wells so no water bills. No municipal income tax. Less property taxes. Inexpensive housing: a 2500 square-foot house on 21 acres cost thousands LESS than a 1100 square-foot home in Chicago on a postage-stamp lot. And with all the money you’re saving, you can go on vacation or buy yourself something nice or just tuck it away in a savings account & watch that money grow.
So do something kind for you and unburden yourself from all the city clutter that makes you old. Slow down. Relax. Come join us folks in the country. We’ll have some home-baked, crumb-topped pie waiting for you when you arrive.