The Roads Not Traveled

IMG_1272We just got back from a fun weekend spent visiting family in Iowa.  On Saturday night, my nephew and his wife graciously hosted everyone for a big family dinner at their home.  They moved to a beautiful old farmhouse in the country a couple of years ago, and this was the first time my husband and I had visited them there.  Their one hundred year-old house (which is remarkably well preserved)  sits on several acres of land, with a beautiful view of rolling pasture right outside their front door.  They have fruit trees, a huge garden, several charming outbuildings and even a chicken coop, complete with six lively chickens.   And as they were showing us around, all I could think was, “I want to live here.”

There has always been a part of me that would like to live out in the country, in a big rambling farmhouse surrounded by enough land to keep a few horses, several dogs and whatever other animals I happened to acquire.  I enjoy the peaceful beauty of rural areas, and the thought of living closer to nature, with the chance to grow lots of vegetables and maybe even have fresh eggs from my very own chickens is appealing to me.  But that’s not the life I chose, and it’s not the life I am living.

I live in an inner suburb of a large city, on less than a quarter-acre lot, with neighbors close by on three sides.  I can’t step out my door and go for a nice walk in the country, but I can walk to several stores and restaurants, and my children could walk to their school when they were little.  My son, daughter, and mother each live within a twenty minute drive from my home, and my husband and I have many good friends who live close enough to see often.  All in all, I am happy with the way things have turned out, and have no plans of moving anytime soon.

I think we all have to make our choices in life, and there are always trade-offs in whatever choice we make.  As much as I would enjoy living in that big house in the country, I also enjoy living in a city with all that a big urban area has to offer. Country living is, for me, one of those choices that I think about from time to time and wonder just exactly what my life would be like if I had followed that particular dream.  Just like how each time my husband and I visit Sanibel Island, we think, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just live down here?”  But then we go home, look around us, and realize that we are content to stay just where we are.

There will always be a part of me that yearns for the country life, and for the island life as well.  But I know that not all dreams can be followed, and that we have to choose the ones that are the most important to us.  For my nephew and his wife, the dream of farm life was the one worth pursuing, and I’m so glad it worked out for them.  (And I hope they don’t mind us visiting rather often!)  But for me, both the rural life and the island life are simply the tempting roads that I didn’t travel on the journey of my life.

20 thoughts on “The Roads Not Traveled

  1. Reading your post makes me want to live on a huge farmhouse with chickens, dogs and being able to grow all the vegetables and fruits. Everytime I visit a different country or State, I want to pack my bags and move. I suppose we all yearn for what we don’t have and have the romantic notion of how great it would be.

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    • I think you are right! If I did live in the country, then I would probably yearn for the excitement and convenience of living in the city. There is good and bad in every situation…. but chickens are definitely a plus!

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  2. It’s true there are nice things about living just outside a city and nice things about living in the country. I grew up in a medium sized town where you could walk everywhere and I loved the freedom as a kid to be able to do that. And we were just a train ride from a big city. Now I live with my family in a fast-growing rural township, a few miles from a big town, but you have to drive everywhere to get anywhere. It’s beautiful, but it’s a trade-off, like everything. Sounds like you have a great situation and you can always visit your family in the country!

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    • We were lucky to be able to walk everywhere when we were kids, too! I think you are right; it is all a trade-off. I do believe I would have been happy living in the country, but I am also happy living in the city. Sometimes life just goes in a certain direction, and we follow along. And now, my roots are here. And as you say, I am lucky to have relatives who live in the country and I can always visit them! Thanks for the comment!

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    • True, it is hard to appreciate a rooster at sunrise! We can’t have chickens where I live, but in the suburb right next to us, they can. I guess it’s just sort of luck of the draw…

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  3. Your nephew’s house sounds wonderful. Chickens are a lot of fun too, although it’s not so much fun cleaning out their coop. There’s no disputing the fact that living in a population center is far more convenient, though. It’s no fun having to drive for miles to the nearest store whenever you want a loaf of bread.

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    • How nice that you’ve actually gotten to live in all three of those environments! And I know you are right, there is good and bad in each of them. In the end, we just have to choose what works best for each of us.

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  4. I don’t think you’re alone with those thoughts, Ann. When we travel everything seems brighter, more beautiful and different in ways that invite us to stay a while longer. But it’s not home. Like you, I always wondered what it would be like to live in a space with more too . Everytime we go up to Maine I’m convinced it’s where I should have lived. There is a pull that takes me back there over and over again. The beauty, the small towns, the rocky coastline, the lobster..:) Maybe I lived there in another life…:)
    But maybe what makes these places so appealing is the escape from our normal routines, a special spot to relax and enjoy the person you’re with. Maybe if we lived there it might not seem as special. Maybe.
    But I always think it would be fun to find out..:)

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  5. I think you are exactly right: part of the attraction is the fact that we are visiting, and don’t have to deal with the daily chores and worries of our normal life. But isn’t it odd how some places pull us toward them so strongly? Maybe you did live in Maine in a previous life! And maybe I lived on a farm, or on an island. And it would definitely be fun to find out if this areas still seemed so special if we actually did live there! If I ever win the lottery, I’ll find out, and will report back….

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  6. Like Almost Iowa, I grew up in a large city, lived in the suburbs for years and now live in the country. There are adjustments to be made with country life but I love it. Your nephew’s home sounds like a slice of heaven. Maybe a little getaway cabin would satisfy the yearning for country living, Ann.

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  7. The grass often seems greener on the other side, doesn’t it? I often get caught up thinking I’d like to live here or there when I visit places, but the truth is that I’d go crazy if I didn’t have a store just a couple blocks from my house. But to be near the ocean in a busy tourist town might be kind of cool 🙂

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    • I know. I love the idea of living in the country, having lots of animals, privacy and beautiful rural scenery. But given my memory, I think I would also be frustrated by how many times I had to drive to the store for yet another item I forgot to buy, and yet need immediately. Right now, I have a grocery store very close by, and a lot of the staff there know me by name!

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