Depending on who you ask, I may or may not live in the country. I mean, technically I live in a suburb, but that’s why it all depends on who you ask. Seven and a half years ago, I would have told you this is the country, and seven and a half years ago when Matthew asked me to marry him, and we discussed where we would live, and what our plans were, it was obvious he had already invested some elbow grease in starting his own outdoor maintenance company, and that seemed to have a brighter future than the costume stitcher/box office assistant job I had at the Louisville Ballet.
So we agreed that we would start our life in Mansfield, with the one condition, that we would move to Columbus ASAP. We married in March 2010, and we talked about moving to Columbus so I could continue my education at The Ohio State University, where I had already applied and been accepted for the fall semester. The time passed but Matthews business wasn’t strong enough to relocate, so we decided to postpone moving to Columbus for another year.
September 2011 rolled around, and instead of moving to Columbus, we were closing on a house in Richland County near Mansfield, still a solid hour plus drive from Columbus. Matthew and I continued to talk about moving to Columbus, or at least Delaware County, and I determined in 2 or 3 years it was going to happen. As the years rolled on, it became apparent, we weren’t going anywhere. This is where our permanent home would be.
So why was I so hesitant to allow myself to make Richland County my home? I was a city girl, and to me, Richland County, even the city of Mansfield, was all country roads. Where was the good food? Where were all the other people our age? Where was all the stuff to do? The shows? The arts? The gourmet grocery stores? The magnet schools for kids? The shopping? The stuff?!?!?!?! But little by little, between supplemental shopping on Amazon, and opening my eyes to the gorgeous landscape around me, my mind and attitude changed.
In fact, we’re hoping in the next couple of years, to move even further out into the country, buy some acreage, and build a little country house, raise chickens, bees, and have a mini orchard. I’ve gone from pressuring my husband to get us to a city as soon as possible, to eyeballing any open fields with realty signs and subscribing to sites like landandfarm.com.
So if you’re teetering on the edge of a decision, should you live a more rural life? OR stay in a big city, let me tell you the 5 reasons why I love living the country life.
- Every drive is scenic. Once my Los Angeles raised mother came to visit and flew into the Columbus airport. My father in law was kind enough to pick her up from the airport, she commented on how neat it was that he knew all these beautiful “back roads.” Louie just laughed and said “These are the main roads.” Fields, cattle, farm houses and Amish buggies with bits of forrest, streams, and tractors and loads of deer make for fun driving where ever you need to go. An added bonus, in the summertime, lighting bugs everywhere, and in the winter snow, little animal foot prints all over the yard.
- There is no traffic. If you find yourself driving during rush hour, or holiday season by some of the main shopping strips, yes, you may get stopped by a few lights. But I’m reminded any time I drive to or through Columbus or Cleveland that there is no real traffic around here.
- The Cost of living is cheaper. My sister, who lives in New Jersey, visits every now and then. She went grocery shopping with me and couldn’t believe how cheap everything was. On top of that, houses, apartments, taxes, events, it’s all a lot less expensive. I told Matthew we could move to Columbus one day and live the normal middle class life (there is nothing wrong with that), or we can keep growing his business here and live like kings with greater freedom to live however we want because it’s just so dang cheap.
- The air is cleaner. Less traffic, less people, less pollution. I’m not saying there is none, but we’ve never had a smog problem. That also goes for noise pollution. It’s quieter, it’s more peaceful, and since there isn’t a whole lot going on at night, if you wake up early enough, even in the suburbs, everything outside is so still. I love having those peaceful moments to myself in the morninga before I start my day, looking out my big ceiling to floor bay window in the living room while sipping my herbal tea.
- There is a real sense of community. I grew up in the same house in Louisville from the age of 5 to adulthood and hardly knew my neighbors. Here, I know the names of my neighbors in the house to the left, to the right, across the street, down 2 houses on both sides (shall I continue?) and not only that, our great neighbor Nancy is like a surrogate grandma. My kids LOVE to go over to her house and play with her grandkids, or just the toys she keeps around for grandkids. We don’t have fences, so we share yards, toys, and space. But it’s not just my neighbors on my street. At church, there is a sweet man who loves to garden, and is very good at it. So every year, he uses his green thumb to plant a handful of crops, takes what he and his family can use, and brings the excess to church for the rest of us to take home and eat. There’s also the retired doctor at church that buys boxes of the personal packs of oreo cookies, and hands them out to the kids after church is over. All he asks in return is a handshake, and a thank you. Matthew says the good doc has been doing it since he was a little kid. And there are dozens of other stories like this I could share.
Bottom line, we’re hear for the long hall, and it took me 7 years to accept this is where I’m going to raise my family, and I’m more than ok with that. There is one thing that still bothers me, the good places to go out and eat are few and far in between…I have plans to change that one day.