For a long time people have had an ongoing romantic fascination with country living. Maybe you’re one of those people who sits in traffic and daydreams of someday trading the city rush hour for open greener pastures. While others possibly couldn’t think of anything worse and would become annoyed at the sound of a crowing rooster in the morning. I guess for these people the side effects of country living would not be as favourable. The side effects I experienced however are some of what I dreamed of while others were completely unexpected.
1.) Drink more tea
Before moving out of town I would kick start my day like most people…. with coffee. However I have discovered that since moving I much prefer to have a cup of tea, be it black tea, chai tea, flavoured tea; anything goes. My husband can vouch for this side effect as it has also happened to him. I often catch myself in the afternoons saying “it must be time for a cup of tea and smoko” which makes me feel old as I remember my parents and relatives saying this when I was growing up.
I embarked on a pampering retreat to Bali a few years ago, it was here that I learnt the art of ‘mindful tea drinking’ with a lovely group of ladies whom I traveled with. With the experience came a lovely quote that we were told and its one that I will never forget:
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh.
This is exactly now I try and drink my tea each and every day. Since then my husband had a beautiful wooden tea chest made with the some beautiful words and the picture of a lotus flower carved into it as a special gift for me and oh boy does it see some use now 🙂
There is something about the country that makes me want to connect over a “cuppa” and stop and smell the roses more often. In fact, I feel like one now so please excuse me for a minute while I make myself a cup of tea (white with 2 sugars!). Why don’t you grab one too 🙂
2.) The longing to stay at home more
I’ve always liked the idea of staying at home but the truth is I couldn’t sit still and would leave the house at every chance I got and it would feel like the world was ending when we had one car and my husband would take it for the day because it would feel like I was trapped or stranded. However since living in the country I feel at peace at home. Those that know me know that I’ve always said “Home is my sanctuary” and its my place to escape the challenges of the world. I get quite excited (not bored) by the prospect of having an ENTIRE day at home without having to go anywhere or do anything in particular… just me and the washing. Weird I know!
3.) More Organized
Getting in the car and running down to the shops was never something that ever bothered me and would do it at the drop of a hat to mix things up and get out of the house much to my husbands dislike haha. However so that I can have more chunks of peaceful time at home something had to give. I have started accumulating errands together before heading into town. Now when I say “into town” it sounds like I live so far out in the bush….. I’m not, I’m actually only 20 minutes from a regional city. But running to and from home like I used to when I lived in town just didn’t make sense anymore so it would mean I’d have to plan my trips with multiple errands and plot out the smoothest route across the city.
I’ve also learnt to organize myself better for trips and laying out everything I need to take with me as a 40-50 minute round trip because a lunch box wasn’t packed into a Kindergarten school bag is never a good way to start the day. Doing the grocery shopping also requires an extra level of planning and organizing to ensure that we had what we needed as a ‘quick’ trip to the supermarket took at least an hour. And just wait until I post about my family command centre when I finally get to making it to bring organization to the whole family (I think that my husband is secretly scared haha!)
4.) A general slowing down
I must say….. I like this side effect….. alot!! It’s not to say that I don’t still have busy days but I find that there is ‘space’ to think, to breathe and just well, be. I’m more choosy about my commitments and spend my time more wisely. There is less of a sense of urgency and more of feeling life at a steady pace. Ok, so I’m not as oblivious to the clock as those on some tropical islands who say they run on “island time” however the sense of plodding along calmly is really invigorating and certainly not something that I”m used to!
5.) Wanting to be more social
Its a bit of a paradox really, moving out of town away from people but feeling like being more social. Its not that I don’t normally have contact with people and am craving contact because I do (psst… however I am known to be a slightly anxious and at times socially awkward person… haha). The desire to make new and different friends and expanding my friendship circle has just been stronger and I guess I’m feeling less socially anxious.
I have been very fortunate to move to an acreage with a sense of community, something I never experienced in town where you live much closer together and with alot more people around you…. funny isn’t it! The true meaning of “love thy neighbour” has certainly developed since moving to the country and I enjoy sharing fresh produce, homemade treats and the odd barbecued sausage and glass of wine with my neighbours. Being more social with my neighbours has also inspired me to explore other interests to meet new people that I’ve been too scared to try before like check out the local area’s circuit class or look at joining a book club.
6.) Getting excited when the plants grow a few inches
Now maybe you are thinking “Gee this woman really needs to get a life. Growing plants… really?”. But there is something inherently special and beautiful in nurturing and watching something grow and bloom and know that the effort you put in will reward you later with wonderful shade, fresh fruit and vegetables or beautiful flowers. I’ve never been much of a green thumb so this one really surprised me. My husband always joked that if I was going to look after our children like I look after our plants that we were never having children as I would forget to water them and they would die. Thankfully my parenting skills were better than my gardening skills back then as I never forgot to feed them haha! This excitement also reminds me of the need to celebrate successes no matter how small and to remain in the present moment instead of looking too far ahead and “wishing they were bigger now” which would be easy to do since our patch is still very bare after the house was built and the acre has no trees or bushes on it apart from the few that were already there.
7.) Wanting to cook and bake more
I’m afraid I wasn’t much of a cook either before we moved to the country and if I did it was all about following a recipe exactly! and I mean EXACTLY!… My husband would often roll his eyes at me as I would leave for the shops because we didn’t have the exact amount of a particular ingredient. So my husband did most, if not all of the cooking and my friends were constantly jealous about finding a man who could cook well. I now find myself being inspired to cook and try different recipes and to experiment with different ingredients. Having a daughter with food allergies initially frightened me into not knowing what to cook and I resorted again to buying allergy friendly recipe books and flicked through them thinking “how do they come up with this stuff?” “How do they know what to put together to make an amazing cake without eggs or dairy?”. I used to admire them and want to be like them but now I realise…. I AM like them and I AM doing it every day! While sometimes I think that my lovely new large kitchen is part of the reason for wanting to cook more as its just such a lovely place to be, I also find it a fantastic place for learning (what ingredients go together, science behind cooking/baking) and creativity. I now know that so much fun could be had in the kitchen if I just let go of the reins a bit and play.
8.) Desire for more simple living / more Eco-friendly
Anyone who knew me growing up would probably say that I always wanted modern, new whiz bangs things. Maybe its getting more wisdom as I get older or maybe its moving to the country to live more simply that possessions are just that…things, objects, ‘stuff’. I would notice in our old house that more ‘things’ meant more clutter which to me gave me more of a sense of chaos. The culling of possessions doesn’t make me want to throw everything out and resort to living in survival mode with just the bare essentials however it has made me become more choosy about what possessions I want in my life and in my space. If I don’t absolutely love it or it doesn’t have a practical use then generally its days are numbered. The idea of “up-cycling” to recycle old things and have fun creating pieces that I love has entered my sphere. Before I would have considered them to be pieces of junk and just thrown them out. The words rustic, shabby chic, recycled industrial were just not even words in my vocabulary. What’s old can be truly new again.
The thought at attempting to make my own cleaning products for the home is also something that has also popped up saying ‘pick me’, ‘pick me’. Our new life with a septic system means we need to be careful about chemicals we use around the home and what goes down our sinks and drains. This forced mind shift was not something I really wanted to deal with just yet as it felt too hard and since having no other option meant reducing the chemicals or face the consequences of having someone come out and troll through poop to clean out the system kind of wasn’t all that appealing. Talk about a crappy job! (no pun intended haha!).
My husband often jokes about how ‘hippy’ I’ve become since we’ve moved and even thinks my new pair of colourful loose fitting paisley pants are the beginning of the end in my hippy wardrobe haha. He often stands back and just looks at me with a look that says “who the hell are you” when I get on my soapbox and start sprouting about how we should recycle, and not waste water and investigating ways to be more energy efficient and complain that big companies should focus less on making money and more on reducing pollution to help maintain a future for our children and future generations. I’ve always known that this stuff is good for our environment but for some reason it all just makes sense now.
9.) The time it takes to calm down is significantly reduced
When life does get me frazzled… yep it happens to me too, I used to come home and brood and be irritable for hours, possibly days and want to shut myself off. The longer drive on the open road to now get home helps to get all my brooding out and I make a pact with myself that once I turn onto our road that I am to leave it all behind. This technique works for most days. On the days when I’m feeling even more frazzled and feeling like I can’t shake it, 10-15 minutes on the back deck taking in the beautiful mountain views is enough to make me forget the chaos and remember what’s really important. If you have somewhere that you feel is truly your sanctuary, then this is the place to go when the world gets too much and has the greatest impact on soothing and containing those wild emotions.
10.) Noticing beauty at every turn.
The act of mindfulness is about being present in the moment and noticing. It is the very act of ‘noticing’ that would pass me by each day while living a busy, chaotic life in the city. So much beauty exists our there if we only just stop and notice it. Taking the time to watch, to listen, to hear, to feel, taste and smell; using all of our senses to interact with the world around us has opened up a new world of beauty that I was oblivious to before. This of course has flow on effects and impacts my ability to calm down quicker, and slowing down and feeling less stressed. Of course I have days where the world whips on by too quickly and I have to remind myself to notice, but when I do, its magnificent!
I know that moving and living in the country will have different effects on everyone and this is just my list. What amazed me about this list is the complete mind shift and lifestyle change that came with our move to the country. What strange side effects did moving to the country have on you? Have you stepped back to recognize the differences between city and country living? Let me know, I’d love to hear about them!