De-metrofying your life: The strong connection between where we live and how we treat others

Sunflowers on a county road

After driving in the country, about half that time on county roads, for the past few years, I feel the need to report my findings are where you live and what it does to you.

friendly waveNow you need to understand, on the county road we take out to the highway from our home, most drivers coming the other way wave to us, even if they don’t know us personally. Even in small towns like La Veta, most are quite friendly. It took me a while to get used to this after living in cities my whole life. At first I didn’t know whether to wave back, because some wave and some don’t.

Then I thought, “Oh screw it. I’ll just going to wave at everybody, regardless.”

Yesterday we drove a few hours north to Denver and back for Christmas. I have become so accustomed to natural friendliness, that when an elderly man sitting in a truck stop looked at me for a second or two, I responded with, “Merry Christmas!” He looked shocked…

Then as we progressed north past Pueblo, attitudes on I-25 took an extreme downward trend, even on Christmas day. Down here, almost no one goes more than 5 MPH over the speed limit. Up there near Colorado Springs and Denver, drivers look at you with disgust if you aren’t going at least 10 over the speed limit.

fuck you from carAnd you can just feel the anger and frustration in the drivers around you. The change in attitude is palpable, and not anything I wish to spend any more years of my limited lifespan in contact with. Really, is this the best we can do for quality of life in the wonderful old USA?

Another fun fact. I had so much pain in my right knee before I left suburbia four years ago, I felt certain I would have to get some sort of surgery. Then I moved here and it rarely ever hurts. Why? Because I’m no longer sitting with my foot on the brake at stop lights. We only have two in our whole county and I can certainly avoid those!

cloudy Spanish Peaks with snow and garden

These are just a few aspects of city versus rural life that make me glad every day that I don’t live near cities anymore. I so rarely feel angry and my stress level is near zero most of the time. It took me a year or so to totally quit pre-worrying everything and just relax. That is why driving back up to metroland is so very illuminating and yet anxiety-producing at the same time…

This is a great example of what I now like to call “de-metrofying my life.” Ha, love it! Now I am clearly off-the-grid mentally.

14 thoughts on “De-metrofying your life: The strong connection between where we live and how we treat others

  1. Love this post! You’re so right. We aren’t out in the country, as you are, but we left the metro Atlanta area for the much smaller Venice, FL. The difference is palpable. In our little neighborhood, everyone knows everybody and we all help each other. A 15 minute walk with the dogs takes 30-40 minutes because we end up stopping to chat with our neighbors. That rarely happened in Atlanta, if ever. The few neighbors we knew were extremely nice people, but everyone was so busy all the time. We know more people here after 6 months than we knew in our old neighborhood after 17 years. It’s really something.


  2. Believe me I get it…I live in a small town in MD close to the PA border…people all know each other and smile…but a few miles down the road it isn like that…I often say I want to move somewhere where people are nice all the time…where is that mystical place…we need to find it…but then everyone would come live there and mess it up!


  3. I live on a small island and LOVE it….you are forced to slow down, stop, and smell the roses …cause life is just SLOWER than in the big cities, and at my age slower=better! I can totally relate with Lisa that a 15 minute walks takes 30 minutes cause you have to stop and chat with all the neighbors. It’s the same here! 🙂


  4. I agree with you, more or less, as I grew up on a small self-reliant small farm. The space and pace were wonderful. But I remember words from a hymn we always sang in the teeny tiny 1 room country church I attended as a child, “brighten the corner where you are.” I live in Tucson, which is not a small town, and has not been one for decades. I smile and people smile back. I participate in networks that are every bit as wonderful and supportive as the Ladies Aid Society in which my mother participated. We delivered plates of Christmas cookies to friends and neighbors in the last few days. I am not saying that rural America isn’t wonderful, but urban can be good too. It is about what we cultivate.


  5. I’ve gone in the opposite direction–sold the house in suburbia and moved into an urban spot. I dumped my car–borrow my husband’s when i absolutely positively have to drive somewhere. I walk everywhere, the Metro is nearby. I find it totally de-stressing. Not many people wave at me–as they do at you–but it is friendlier out there on foot. I know some people love to drive (I’m married to one) but unless you live rural, as you do, driving is a source of aggravation and stress.


  6. Post Christmas, Husband and I go over the Sagamore Bridge, to the beautiful (and crazy-quiet) Cape of Cod where virtually nothing is going on, and it’s perfectly peaceful this time of year. It’s our own little slice of heaven …nowhere to be, and nothing important to do. This is where we come (I’m here now!), to be “off the grid.” 😉


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