Up until 6 months ago we lived in a busy Suburban town. We had a brick home with a double garage, mowed lawns, and we were never more than a few meters from another human. Never. The bus stopped outside our door and we could get to a McDonalds in around 5 minutes no matter which way we chose to drive. But we weren’t happy.
I have always felt that I was meant to live in the Country. I mean. Real Country. Mud, Cows, Sheep. The works. And it seems I’m not alone. There are countless shows on TV about people moving to the Country or making a dramatic life change away from the modern lifestyle. I thinks it’s a bit more than a trend.
Up until 100 years ago most families came from some sort of farming community. That means that most of us are only three or so generations away from working the land. Some of us can still feel it in our blood.
For years I pushed these thoughts aside. I mean, come on. I didn’t even own a pair of gumboots (This has now been rectified). I was scared of cows. It wasn’t practical. We couldn’t afford it. It was just a fleeting irrational whimsy. We couldn’t raise our kids in isolation. I couldn’t even grow a vegetable garden. It would pass. But it didn’t.
After we made the decision to ‘Pack it all in and Just do it (Sorry Nike)”, I had so many sleepless nights. I would lie there thinking we were crazy. Doubting our choice. Questioning everything.
We didn’t share our plan to move to the Country with many people because we weren’t sure we could answer the question “Why are you doing it?”. Its hard telling people that the place that they call home is just not for you. And sometimes, just sometimes, some (often big) decisions need to be made quietly in your Soul, without justification and approval from anyone else.
Making the move to our Farm (still to be named) has been the best thing we have ever done for our family. Every morning we wake up to the sound of (surprisingly loud, still kind of scary) cows,
one three clucking hens (long story), four gorgeous sheep lads and seven frisky turkeys. And 5 out of the 6 of us absolutely love it. My teenage daughter is still coming to terms with it. My heart feels at peace for the first time ever.
Deciding how you want to live your life is such an important decision but most of us never really think about it at all. We just roll along with the flow of what everyone else is doing around us and then wonder why we feel unsettled. If you have those stirrings inside you, here are some signs that Country Life may just be for you:
- You feel disconnected with the lifestyles of the people around you.
Commuting, networking groups, coffee mornings, late pub lunches, shopping, mobile phones, endless after school activities. None of this bought us any joy. In fact, it went a bit deeper. I couldn’t find value in our everyday activities. I didn’t care about so many things that my friends found important. I felt as if I was a fraud and that I was wasting my life pretending. We were faking happiness to fit in. It’s ironic that you can be surrounded by so many people and still feel lonely.
2. You want to grow your own food. For Real.
This may seem a bit odd to some, but the urge to grow food for my family is insanely strong. I want to pick my own fruit and cook my own vegetables. Whenever I visit someones home, I couldn’t care less about their new lounge suite or robotic vacuum. But I am immediately attracted to the flourishing bush of parsley they have sprouting from beneath their garden tap or their heavily laden lemon tree out the back. Have I grown food before. Um. No. Unless you count some herbs and baby tomatoes. No? Well then. The fun begins now. I am about to start learning.
3. You want Peace and Quiet.
As a parent ‘Peace and Quiet’ has a whole other meaning. I’m not talking about silence. And I’m not talking about isolation either. I’m talking about the satisfaction of being at home with our family. In a place that gives you peace. Without the need to go out or to be entertained. Without the interruptions of the World, or technology. Country living has no city noise. While I’m sitting here, I can here my kids laughing outside, the dog is whining and chasing its own tail (it does that), I can hear bees and far away … I think I can hear a car.Without the excessive stimulation, it’s as if time slows down. There are no constant interruptions or urgency to get things done now. Peace and Quiet.
Besides, you have to make your way past three gates, an electric fence, a ton of cow manure and a lot of long grass to knock at my door. If you are knocking, then you must really want to see me 🙂
4. You feel renewed when you get away from it all
We often go camping as a family to ‘Get away from ‘it’. What is ‘It’? I’m talking about our Real Life. Real life was something that made us tired. Camping in the Country renewed us. Four kids, no toilets, dirt and no running water. And yet we still felt energized and healthy when we were away from the city. I think some people are motivated by the action and activity of a busy environment, but for both my husband and myself, the busyness drained us of energy.
5. You are happy being alone.
One of the biggest differences between Country and City living is that people are scarce. You spend a lot on time on your own or with your immediate family. Everyone in my family enjoys the solitude except for my eldest. I can see that my daughter starts to get a bit of Cabin fever after a few days at home, so I have to arrange a sleepover or play date (she hates it when I say ‘playdate’ because 15yr olds don’t have play dates apparently). If you enjoy frequent company or outside stimulation, then Country life may not for you.
6. You are OK with a little chaos.
Country living can be messy. Nothing is ever finished. The grass always grows, the animals need feeding, sometimes a fence needs fixing, water pipes break, the dog gets ticks, the chickens get out, the mud is endless. Its hard work, and often a chaotic. We are a long, long way from the picture perfect farm house on the cover of Country Living Magazine. I don’t know if I would have handled rural living 10 years ago. Kids have taught me that the things that matter most often require work and a truck load of patience.
Oh, there is a LOT of work to be done, and honestly, I have no idea where to even start, but that’s OK.
Because now we are home.