Just finished up a memoir about what it feels like to move from the city to rural, country living. In 2014 we moved from Fort Collins, with the 6th largest county population in Colorado (333,577), to the least populated, Huerfano at about 6,500 souls.
The Huerfano means orphan in Spanish, and so many of us here are orphans, because we are elders. We lived in the town of Walsenburg (pop. 3,000) for our first year here, while building a custom passive solar home west of here. We are now completing our first full year of living in the foothills, close to nature.
Writer Kathy Gottberg recently provided us with a wonderful summary of the differences between living in cities versus getting out in nature, and then she said:
“We are busy, always busy… but what is this doing to our soul?”
I feel I have learned so much on this topic by living close to nature for the past year. Getting far from any city has been a reawakening for me, and living here permanently is a wonder. I love to experience those unique emotional experiences which defy our habitual way of thinking. Living here has been all about defying my previous limited state of mind. I called myself “metrofied” before I moved here, but I had no idea how horribly stuck I was in “city think.”
It is so soothing to observe how cities change us, and then leave, transitioning to a slower, calmer way of being. In my first year here I have become aware of the constant anxiety level I maintained by living in cities. Then I slowly let it go. When I feel anxious sometimes, I quickly see there is truly no reason for this feeling. Now, only when I get impatient or angry do I realize that I used to feel that way so much of the time back in Fort Collins, where the traffic was horrendous, and everyone was some form of tense.
The true change for me is the awareness that I can now live in the present. I have been seeking this experience for most of my life. Instead of worrying about the past or demanding more in my future, I can just be here now, loving my life. The down side to this new way of being? Great difficulties going back into cities! I don’t want to waste one more moment of my limited lifespan sitting in traffic.
I am filled with gratitude that I can now live in nature forever…
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” — Henry David Thoreau
The ups and downs of moving from a good-sized city to the outback: A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado
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