After 60 years of living in cities, I moved to rural Colorado 2 years ago. Here are some of the differences I have observed between those who choose to live in or near cities, and those who seek out the rural areas of our country.
The most obvious difference is a love of silence and nature. We had my brother John here for the past few weeks and he spent almost all of his waking hours sitting outside observing the birds, the plants, the bugs, the clouds and the weather. I told you before that I call him “Mother Nature’s Son” and for good reason. Rural America is only for those who greatly prefer a natural setting to high stress, traffic, noise, hustle and bustle and an incredible array of shopping options.
Our sense of time and relaxation is different here. Sure there are lots of hard-working people in the outback, but time takes on a different meaning here. The only people here who are in a great hurry are the outsiders, the locals live on a more relaxed schedule. No hurry to get on to the next task, take your time and do it right. As I mentioned previously when I wrote about the only time we went back to Fort Collins in our two years here:
“I saw people everywhere waiting for something, a place to park, a place to sit in a restaurant, a chance to go through the next stop light, an opportunity to pay for their purchase.”
Even today, I still find myself sometimes getting anxious when I’m preparing to go somewhere in town. Will it be crowded? Will I be able to get in? And then I arrive and there is hardly anybody there. It takes time to adjust to little traffic and no big rush.
One wonderful, interesting result of no longer sitting in traffic with my foot on the brake constantly, no more right knee pain! I injured that knee in a ski accident in high school, and was planning on treating the long-term pain with surgery before I moved here. Now, my knee is fine.
One discovery for me has been how important religion is out here in the country. I have found one of the great delineators between people is what church you attend, or if you are even religious. In discussions with new people, church almost always comes up. My religion is nature and the earth is my church. Some here can understand that perspective and many cannot. They would prefer that I come to their church.
The other important issue locally seems to be whether you smoke marijuana or not. In some cases I have begun friendships only to find them backing away when the subject of marijuana comes up.
As far as new friendships go, I would say rural people are more hesitant to welcome newcomers into their life. I have heard that they like to wait a few years to see if you will be sticking around before actually becoming friends. And then there are those who came here for the purpose of being alone permanently.
Overall I am surprised at how different rural living can be. It has certainly changed me in so many good ways. I have so much less anxiety and stress, that I almost cannot tolerate how bad I feel when I go to even small cities. I feel my anxiety level rising immediately…
I now fully embrace my love of silence and nature, so I will continue my quest for like-minded souls in this area.
9 thoughts on “A Few Lifestyle Differences Between City and Rural Folks in Colorado”
And then there are those of us who love quiet and nature who carve out a little oasis in the city.
Yes Linda! So good to hear from you!
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i’m a country mouse myself, but i’ve been enjoying living in a great small town where we live in town. but we also live close enough to NY to go in and enjoy the best of both worlds fairly easily.
Yes Meg, I know what you mean. We have a sweet little town (pop. 800) near by, but there most of the homes have no view of the mountains and it’s too noisy for us. We love the country SILENCE!
Even though I sold my ranch earlier this year and my “forever” home is still unknown, I do know I won’t be moving back into the big city… something some of my friends don’t understand. For those who’ve only known having shopping malls and grocery stores nearby, they can’t imagine why I want to continue to live out here. You do… 🙂 xoxox, Brenda
Yes Brenda, I’m new to this type of low-key quiet life, but so far I’m happier than I’ve ever been! The only problem is my inability to spend any time in cities…they make me so nervous now!
I totally get where you’re coming from, Laura. We left a major city to live at the beach. The home we found is ideal and it’s like living in the country at the beach. I love the birds and farms around us but, I don’t think I could go as far away from town as you are. Now that beach season is upon us, here in NJ, things will be much livelier and come labor day we will be happy to see everyone leave!
Believe it or not Barb, the summer season here is getting crazier by the week! We are so NOT used to traffic and I hate it when all the foreigners arrive!
I guess that officially makes me a local, huh?