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Old 01-01-2011, 02:19 PM
 
7 posts, read 7,833 times
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I would like to think of myself as a relatively uncomplicated, practical person who could make a life anywhere and be content (or at least relatively happy).

Having read and studied a great deal on Buddhist and other "just be" philosophies, I find that it is not possible for me to adjust to small town living, which is my present situation due to my work for the past four years. Culture shock to the extreme. ("Small town" meaning rural, pop. <15,000 and an hour away from any smaller city as one would find in the Midwest. No cultural life, no social life, etc.)

I was raised and have lived (and was far happier) in two very different major cities for the better part of my adult life, tried the "getting back to the land" thing, and find myself wanting to make a move to a part of the U.S. where I am not so landlocked and removed from a cultural/social life.

I'm sure I've latched on to Buddhist philosophies to better acclimate to the incredibly mundane area where we live. It appears quite a few on this forum want to get away from the city (large or mid-sized) and go rural.

Is it realistic to think one can have a contented life anywhere they land? I ask because I am having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that I am clearly not one of those people (adaptable to rural life).

In other words, does where you live and the amenities/activities/social climate you prefer have much to do with your level of happiness?

Is adaptability to rural life really such a simple concept for most who make the move?
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:08 PM
 
Location: roaming gnome
12,395 posts, read 14,889,785 times
Reputation: 5330
Quote:
Originally Posted by francesf View Post
In other words, does where you live and the amenities/activities/social climate you prefer have much to do with your level of happiness?

Is adaptability to rural life really such a simple concept for most who make the move?
Well yeah, a city should be able to accomadate your needs, at some level, everybody wants to "fit in"...

I think there are several places that work for me... I also know there are several places that just won't work.

Rural life is tough b/c of job factor, unless you already owned a bunch of land/farm/animals... then the prospects become much harder.

It might have been a better prospect in the pioneer days or if you inherited a large sum of land to "live off"...
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:45 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,008 posts, read 17,970,437 times
Reputation: 32538
Quote:
Originally Posted by francesf View Post
I would like to think of myself as a relatively uncomplicated, practical person who could make a life anywhere and be content (or at least relatively happy).

Having read and studied a great deal on Buddhist and other "just be" philosophies, I find that it is not possible for me to adjust to small town living, which is my present situation due to my work for the past four years. Culture shock to the extreme. ("Small town" meaning rural, pop. <15,000 and an hour away from any smaller city as one would find in the Midwest. No cultural life, no social life, etc.)

I was raised and have lived (and was far happier) in two very different major cities for the better part of my adult life, tried the "getting back to the land" thing, and find myself wanting to make a move to a part of the U.S. where I am not so landlocked and removed from a cultural/social life.

I'm sure I've latched on to Buddhist philosophies to better acclimate to the incredibly mundane area where we live. It appears quite a few on this forum want to get away from the city (large or mid-sized) and go rural.

Is it realistic to think one can have a contented life anywhere they land? I ask because I am having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that I am clearly not one of those people (adaptable to rural life).

In other words, does where you live and the amenities/activities/social climate you prefer have much to do with your level of happiness?

Is adaptability to rural life really such a simple concept for most who make the move?
I have always liked every place I have ever lived when I lived there at that time in my life. You know, when I was growing up it was important to live in a neighborhood around other kids my age (on the block). When I was single and in my early 20s, living in a big city was great and exciting. When I was married, suburbia was was the ticket. Now that I'm retired, I like more open spaces nearby. The key isn't adapting. It's knowing what you need to live the kind of life you want to lead at that stage of your life and then choosing correctly.

It absolutely drives me crazy to read posts in the State forums about people who move for cheap and pretty and then whine about everything they don't have or can't do when they get there.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque
7,080 posts, read 7,254,238 times
Reputation: 7797
Quote:
Originally Posted by francesf View Post
Having read and studied a great deal on Buddhist and other "just be" philosophies, I find that it is not possible for me to adjust to small town living,
Then I think you have missed the point. It sound like you have a lot of attachments to things that do not exist in your area and thus, you are suffering.

By all means, move to a more materially fulfilling city/region. There is nothing wrong with that. Good luck.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:32 PM
 
Location: Carrboro and Concord, NC
965 posts, read 1,186,201 times
Reputation: 1157
Quote:
Originally Posted by francesf View Post
Is it realistic to think one can have a contented life anywhere they land? I ask because I am having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that I am clearly not one of those people (adaptable to rural life).

In other words, does where you live and the amenities/activities/social climate you prefer have much to do with your level of happiness?

Is adaptability to rural life really such a simple concept for most who make the move?
Well the grass is definitely not always greener. I think I could be happy anywhere, but I haven't run off to live in Flint, or Bismark, or Dothan either.

That noted, I share a lot of your basic philosophies, and I live in an area that would seem to be perfect for me - it's brainy, it's arty, it's freethinking, left-of-center, gay-friendly, environmentally aware, hip, you name it. Everyone here has either been published, or put out a CD on Merge Records. Chapel Hill is very much overrun with people who are very committed to being as absolutely brilliant as possible during every waking moment, and it's enough of a civic vibe that I can fall into it, and it's really exhausting.

I also am paying through the nose for it - I live in a dump, in a rough section of town, as the cost of living here is twice the state average. It (the city that is) lines up perfectly with my values, but it also sucks if you don't have money.

When I go visit my mother, who lives in Concord (an old textile town that has become a vast suburb of Charlotte), it's funny - it's the home of NASCAR, it's sleepy, conservative, Southern, as unhip of a place as you will find, a church on every block. Spending a week or two in a town where no one has been published can be extremely relaxing. When I come back to Chapel Hill, I can literally feel muscles tightening up, and they will stay that way until my next trip out of town.

And because of this, I have thought about moving to someplace a little less ... cerebral, though I don't know if I'll do it in the near future.
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
9,259 posts, read 12,399,748 times
Reputation: 6771
The only places I couldn't be happy in (going forward) are places that don't have snowy winters.

When I look back on places I hated, there are still some things I miss about them, and even look back on some of those things with fondness, and even envy.

I have done big city, medium-sized city, suburbs, and small isolated town. They all have their pluses/minuses.

I grew up in the suburbs of one of the largest US metro areas, and I liked the idea of a small town, so I moved to one. After awhile, I hated it, so I moved to a suburb of a big city.

After a couple of years there (liking it), I moved to a medium-sized city, one which lacked most big-city amenities (that I'd be interested in anyway). I wasn't sure about it at first, but grew to love it.

I then moved back to the big city (the one who's suburb I previously lived in), and I don't like it very much anymore. The traffic and general aloofness of the people are two things that really get to me. So I really don't like big cities (and/or suburbs of) anymore.

So now, I say I'd prefer medium or small cities, or small towns.

The only constant in life is change. I've been all over the map and back when it comes to personal preferences. I think happiness is a choice, so find a place where you can be happy.
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:52 AM
 
Location: East Passyunk
2,751 posts, read 2,289,500 times
Reputation: 1548
Quote:
Originally Posted by francesf View Post
I would like to think of myself as a relatively uncomplicated, practical person who could make a life anywhere and be content (or at least relatively happy).

Having read and studied a great deal on Buddhist and other "just be" philosophies, I find that it is not possible for me to adjust to small town living, which is my present situation due to my work for the past four years. Culture shock to the extreme. ("Small town" meaning rural, pop. <15,000 and an hour away from any smaller city as one would find in the Midwest. No cultural life, no social life, etc.)

I was raised and have lived (and was far happier) in two very different major cities for the better part of my adult life, tried the "getting back to the land" thing, and find myself wanting to make a move to a part of the U.S. where I am not so landlocked and removed from a cultural/social life.

I'm sure I've latched on to Buddhist philosophies to better acclimate to the incredibly mundane area where we live. It appears quite a few on this forum want to get away from the city (large or mid-sized) and go rural.

Is it realistic to think one can have a contented life anywhere they land? I ask because I am having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that I am clearly not one of those people (adaptable to rural life).

In other words, does where you live and the amenities/activities/social climate you prefer have much to do with your level of happiness?

Is adaptability to rural life really such a simple concept for most who make the move?
I like your post, because I'm currently living someplace that I don't prefer. I've thought a lot about things and I believe I've come to a healthy conclusion.

A place is a place, and you have to be happy with yourself and have the ability to self-evaluate. Being happy with yourself helps you to be happy, mostly independent of your surroundings (at least it helps you not nitpick things that are not a big deal). Being able to self-evaluate ensures that you can succeed socially and professionally. I see many people move who are personally unhappy, and running to someplace new doesn't help. Not being able to self-evaluate causes social and professional problems, and running to a new city will not help.

I believe that there are things that can weigh in on your happiness, and are not part of the personal happiness/self-evaluation. This includes family and lifestyle. I believe that if you're really close with your family, being away can be tough (even if you are personally happy and like your lifestyle). Also, lifestyle is a big part. I like an urban lifestyle and absolutely hate being in the car. I love the realness of the city and the culture that comes with it. I don't feel stimulated without it.

My wife and I are picking up and moving to a new city that fits our lifestyle, because we've decided that we've mastered being personally happy and because we've worked hard on our careers. America has a very "live to work" view on life (at least that's how I feel it is), and I believe that you should "work to live". You should find where you want to be in the world and then find ways to make it work.

So I say, if you've given it a sufficient amount of time/effort, don't waste your time living somewhere you don't want to be. Life is too short!
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:51 AM
 
7 posts, read 7,833 times
Reputation: 18
ABQConvict: You knocked the nail on the head. I'm certain I've hit my limit regarding what it unavailable to me here in a rural area, and basically long for culture, people who actually converse about the world/politics/etc, myriad restaurant options, and the like.

davidals: It's highly ironic you mention Chapel Hill, because for some reason the idea of living in Raleigh greatly appeals to me. I believe it's because we're originally from the southern US, have friends in Raleigh and know it's about two/three hours from the ocean and an hour or two from the mountains or foothills. Also, my job searches repeatedly pull up the Triangle region. A sign, perhaps?

Another irony to your post is about the academics in the Triangle, as this appeals to me, likely because I've been starved for so long - and miss - academic circles and most everything that encompasses. Rural folks are very reticent and we will forever be outsiders where we presently live, and I've hit my limit on that one as well. Of course, that took a while to figure out and a large effort on our part (trying to have people over for dinner, or drinks out, for conversation). You can hear the crickets chirping during dinner. Yikes.

Your comment "as absolutely brilliant as possible during every waking moment" made me chuckle because in my mind - for the past five years - I've thought "oh, if only I could just be around some brilliant people." Not to say there aren't smart folks in tiny, remote rural areas, but if there are, they're in hiding where I live. But I certainly know what you mean. Academics can be like rabid Rock Stars in their quest for prestige.

Husband and I have no family anywhere near where we live, or other reason to stay besides work and the money, so we are essentially free to go where we like provided we can get decent jobs. We've both come to the conclusion that we would rather make less (if necessary) and feel part of a thriving, relatively open-minded community than to make more and have no social or creative life. We did visit the region where we presently live for two weeks and thought it would be rather idyllic. The first year was nice (a sort of Pleasantville USA, if you will) and then the piercing winters and isolation finally got the better of us.

Ajneoa: I'm not so certain a place is a place, and this is the rub for me. Being involved and engaged with community and social/cultural stimulation - as you mention - are so necessary to my happiness that I find it impossible to be content, much less happy, in Ruralville, because none of that exists here. I've tried for many months to "just be" here, and find it more and more of a struggle. I clearly had an over-idealized notion of rural living. But it's certainly been a life lesson and we've learned a lot from it.

At any rate, we're presently looking at various locations in New England and Charleston, SC; Raleigh/Durham, NC; and Charlotte, NC. Being so landlocked (except an 8 hour drive to Chicago to see Lake Michigan) is not for us.

Great responses, all. Thanks.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:21 AM
 
Location: East Passyunk
2,751 posts, read 2,289,500 times
Reputation: 1548
Quote:
Originally Posted by francesf View Post
Ajneoa: I'm not so certain a place is a place, and this is the rub for me. Being involved and engaged with community and social/cultural stimulation - as you mention - are so necessary to my happiness that I find it impossible to be content, much less happy, in Ruralville, because none of that exists here. I've tried for many months to "just be" here, and find it more and more of a struggle. I clearly had an over-idealized notion of rural living. But it's certainly been a life lesson and we've learned a lot from it.

At any rate, we're presently looking at various locations in New England and Charleston, SC; Raleigh/Durham, NC; and Charlotte, NC. Being so landlocked (except an 8 hour drive to Chicago to see Lake Michigan) is not for us.

Great responses, all. Thanks.
Yeah, I agree with what you and ABQConvict are saying too, I guess I stated all of that because I feel it's really important that an individual moves for the right reasons (as I've struggled with this as well, and that was my thought pattern). Good luck to you and your move.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:37 AM
 
7 posts, read 7,833 times
Reputation: 18
It's rather interesting to me that there are people who can move from a city and live quite contentedly in a yurt in the middle of Nowhere, Montana (for example) with no social or cultural exposure, and then there are others of us who simply must have access to "things." I wanted to believe I could be (and indeed tried hard to be) the former, and find - at age 43 - that I am the latter.
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