Grit Blogs > Adventures in Rural Living

Rural Life or Rat Race? Which Will It Be?

Today I’m sharing something written by my husband, Jim. He has a great perspective on this life we’re living together. Here he shares a bit of history and how he really feels about living the rural life!

Here I am, living on our rural property and real jazzed about it. I’m jazzed at night looking back at the day, and I'm really jazzed when I wake up!

I remember one day years ago in my corporate life. I was in a meeting discussing TPS report cover designs and found myself daydreaming. I can’t even recall what I was dreaming about, but it was pleasantly distracting. Then the person addressing the meeting woke me up when he said that when he got up in the morning he was "jazzed" about life and ready for the ups and downs of the day. I could see his genuine excitement and enthusiasm. But where in the world did he get it?

 city sky 

Comparing that guy’s feelings to my sense of life, I realized I was just going through the motions. I had a great job and a great family ... but something was missing. Maybe a lot was missing. I didn't even like lots of things about my life - and I definitely could care less about TPS cover designs. Why was I dying on the inside, even when things were going well on the outside?

I knew I needed to wake up and understand what was missing in my life. Maybe then I could rediscover the excitement and passion of life that I’d once had.

Thus started my journey to discover what was really going on with me. Along the way, I took a trip with my elderly father back to his home roots on a large farm in the Midwest. He had left the farm when he finished high school, but I suspect he really never really left in his heart. As we walked around the eight square miles that was the original family homestead, I saw firsthand what a farm was, or more accurately, what LAND was. I found myself getting pretty jazzed up internally.

It wasn't living in that specific place that was the exciting part; it was seeing with my own eyes what was involved in a new kind of life - one that was connected to the land. It was the rural lifestyle that really got me going.

I remembered my happiness in years past when I’d spent my weekends mending fences and doing other routine chores on our 5-acre gentleman’s farm. My wife, Marie, had been in her element raising kids, baking bread, growing food - even chasing escapee cows back into our pastures. Our kids were constantly outdoors, happily playing on their rope swing or munching veggies in the garden.

Over the years, circumstances had taken us back to city and suburban neighborhoods, but my excitement started growing as I started thinking about living on acreage again. Marie and I agreed - we were both happiest and most “at home” when living the rural lifestyle. As we talked about making a change, I started seeing some possibilities for moving back to rural life. But then came the doubt. The realist in me challenged my thoughts.

Could I really make such a major change ... or any change at all? How could I really leave my current corporate life? I couldn't afford it. There were too many obstacles. A part of me said I should just keep doing what I was doing. But the other part was starting to soar ... becoming excited ... getting jazzed about the possibilities of a change.

I was tired of just existing. Of going through the motions. Would I continue for the rest of my life this way? Nope. Couldn't do it. For me and my family, change was required, and for us it involved moving to some acreage and living a whole new way of life. I just couldn't pretend that I liked my life and satisfy my longings by playing Farmville on Facebook. I needed the real thing. Not a picture or game of the real thing.

 forest sky 

For others, contentment might mean something else. They write their own stories about their journeys. But for my family and me, this life is very satisfying - and it suits us.

Marie and Jim are developing a farm in the Pacific Northwest with their adult children and grandchildren. Together they share glimpses of country life at Rural Living Today and teach practical skills at The Homesteader School. 

marie james
4/5/2012 5:31:47 PM

You probably remember the university labs with computers bigger than refrigerators! Jim spent a lot of hours in there. Key punching was supposed to be a major job of the future, but I'm glad I didn't count on that for a lifetime career! Who would have believed how computers would transform the world. We both still work with computers daily but it's very refreshing to spend time outside with plants and animals as well.


nebraska dave
3/16/2012 9:38:30 PM

Jim and Marie, I have truly been fortunate. I started out on the farm until roaring off to college in an old rusted out Ford Fairlane. During those college year a new breaking technology was happening called a computer. Instantly my passion honed in to the budding technology and a career started which lasted 41 years. During that time every day I couldn't wait to get to work to learn more about the way computers worked and would improve our lives. Unfortunately the last few years the technology advanced so fast that my learning curve couldn't keep up. During those 40 plus years my rural roots lay dormant. When I retired those genes activated and even though I lived in urban city USA, they have bloomed with urban backyard raised bed vertical growing. Now I have expanded by purchasing a new gardening property. All this to say that it's never too late to follow your passion in life. Have a great homestead day.