it’s ok // be different

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It’s so peaceful in the country 
It’s so simple and quiet
You really ought to try it
You walk about and talk about
The pleasant things in life
It’s so restful in the country
It’s the right kind of diet 
You really ought to try it
You lie and dream
Beside a stream 
Where daisies nod hello
City living is a pretty living 
It’s so full of unexpected thrills 
But there’s too much stone 
Too much telephone 
There’s too much of everything but trees and hills
It’s so peaceful in the country 
It’s so simple and quite 
Someday you’re bound to try it
The only place to be 
Is a place for you and me 
Where it’s peaceful in the country
The skyline of New York is a splendid sight 
I know Chicago’s loop is magical at night
The natives of Cleveland from Frisco and Boston 
And natives of cities a stranger gets lost in 
All of them claim that their city’s the best 
From deep in the south and from out in the west 
Perhaps it’s all true but from my point of view
It’s so peaceful in the country
It’s so simple and quiet 
Someday you’re bound to try it 
The only place to be 
Is a place for you and me 
Where it’s peaceful in the country
-Mildred Bailey

****

I can recall sitting on the front lawn of my parents home and asking myself, “why are these houses all stacked so close together?!” I’m not sure that’s a normal question for a young child to ask, unless of course they were raised on “Little House on the Prairie” television episodes, which I was. At any rate, suburban life never sat perfectly well with me. I wasn’t suited for it, and I felt that from a very young age.

I recall feeling uneasy at large shopping malls (still do), and almost always feel like I’m going to lose my mind on a grid-locked freeway. Popular city destinations, always-crowded beaches & jam-packed local restaurants, museums, watering holes, hiking trails, movie theaters, and main street attractions. For peets sake, even the city drained the allure out of Disneyland for me – and I love Disneyland – but so does everyone else in the entire world- and they’re all there…..every.darn.day.

I started having these feelings when I was young, they wained a bit once I had children – let’s go to all the exciting places! – and then reemerged in the last few years (for both my husband and I.) We felt the push to exit the rat race, for both ourselves and our daughters. That is very much what city life had become for us – a race. Not necessarily a race against anyone else – it was against ourselves. We were always moving, always on the go and always crowded by shoulders rubbing against us.  Hearing about amazing things we should do and have our kids involved in. It was constant. What’s funny is that I know we weren’t half as busy as some and we were still exhausted. I don’t know how others managed. I suppose I wasn’t born with that gene. Sean and I both became miserable with the velocity.

Some people love the city (some of my dearest friends, in fact!) and they flourish in it. I think it’s beautiful that God creates a variety of personalities….but we were not those people, and the city quickly started to lose it’s shiny luster for us. The constant

driving

concrete

look-at-your-phone all the time, rush

noise

horn-honking traffic

colorful and often unsavory billboards

busyness

obscenely tall and nature-blocking buildings

convenience

Starbucks drive-thrus

always inflating cost of living

lack of personal space

concrete

concrete

concrete

It became too much for us and I began to wonder and feel….

Are we weird?”

Because it’s hard to be different and want something different, especially when many you know enjoy the very thing you are trying to escape (and do quite well in it, I might add). You can have all the reasons in the world for why you know it’s good for you to be in a different environment, but people will inevitably look at you a bit sideways, and give the eyebrow raise. In fact, when we finally shared we were moving to the East Coast, the amount of well-meaning, critical comments were plentiful.

“Are you ready for that humidity?!” 

“You’ll think twice once you get snow and have to shovel it!”

“You won’t be able to afford to move back to California, EVER!”

“Why would you want to move there?!”

“You’re buying a…..farm???”

“Do you even have a Target close to you?”

“People in the South are….different.”

Of course, we also received an overwhelming amount of support and affirming words too – but it struck me how different it must seem to some. California natives wanting to leave and try something ridiculously different!??!

And then it made ME a bit concerned as well…WHAT were we doing?

However, only two months in and I can unequivocally say that this home in the country is precisely what we yearned for. It’s not without it’s faults but we have found…..

…green, lush, quiet, freedom from the constant buzz of overcommitment and deluge of information. Creation as far as the eye can see. People move slower, which can be a good, fruitful thing. The grass grows longer and the rain pours down right before the sun blasts its rays all over the rolling hills. Ma & Pa businesses where you can “put it on the tab.” Houses with plenty of room in-between them but close enough that you can walk a pie over (and we’ve already had a delivery!) Not as many cars (and not as many stores either.) Children running as far as they want, without a care in the world. No highways and byways littered with too many cars, unless you need one….and cows, horses and sheep along every gravel road. Grazing and moving peacefully through life – just like we do.

It’s hard to be different. Especially when something seems to work so well for others.

But it’s also acceptable to be different and go against the grain.

When we finally admitted to ourselves that we felt city living was somewhat crushing us, we found freedom. Admitting this gave us the ability to realize a dream and direction and purpose for the feelings we were having – we found friends that felt the same and were able to voice that without being thought bizarre. God gives us desires and grants us feelings of contentment and I think we need to acknowledge those and see what He is teaching us through them. It might not always mean a move, but it might mean the beginning of a huge learning period.

I have wanted out of Southern California for as long as I can remember, but God didn’t see fit for that to happen until I was almost 40, with three kids. He has His timing.

I suppose I share this for that one person who believes there must be something backwards about them because the big city offerings don’t appeal to their sensibilities.

You’re not weird. You’re just different.

And that’s ok.

2 Replies to “it’s ok // be different”

  1. I like knowing the back story of your move a little more. Such a big move, but reassuring when you already feel so at ease in your new home/life. Lately I dream of land where kids can roam as far as they want to go and creation is as far as the eyes can see. How beautiful! Our country needs more land owners and farmers! Glad you guys took the jump!

    Liked by 1 person

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