We 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.