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 in her post: Why Wonder and Awe May Be The Cure For Worry, Fear and Narcissism. The part of her piece I relate best to:
“…we are busy, always busy and just don’t have time. But what is all of that doing to our soul?”
I feel I have learned so much about this topic by living in nature for the past year! Getting far from any city is a reawakening for most of us, and living here permanently is a wonder. I related best to Kathy’s description of those unique emotional experiences, which defy “one’s habitual way of thinking.” Living here has been all about defying my previous state of mind. I called myself “metrofied” before I moved here, but I had no idea how stuck I was in “city think.”
It is so soothing to observe how cities change us, and then transition 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 often in Fort Collins, where the traffic was horrendous, and only getting worse.
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
I recently compiled a journal about the ups and downs of moving from a good-sized city to the outback. Enjoy! A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado
Share this information with your friends, and please feel free to contact me directly to order your own signed copies of any of my books! Cheers, Laura Lee (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)
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