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15 Things Only People Who Grew Up In Rural Areas Would Understand

15 Things Only People Who Grew Up In Rural Areas Would Understand

City dwellers have some strange ideas about people who live in the countryside. The charm of a country life may attract suburbanites during holidays. But there are some things you’ll only know if you actually grew up in a rural area.

1. You don’t need an alarm clock

The rooster in your backyard wakes you up every morning at the crack of dawn. It doesn’t come with a snooze button either. Some of you would argue that roosters actually have a built-in snooze button. They’ll crow approximately every 2 minutes for about 8 cycles. But you’ll have little luck sleeping in.

2. You know your neighbors’ birthdays

The village isn’t like the city where neighbors don’t talk to each other. Even though people don’t exactly live right next door, you take the time to get to know your neighbors really well. Well enough to know when their birthdays are.

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3. You catch up on local news at the local pub/bar

The community is scattered over a vast expanse of land. But, come weekend, everyone loves a tipple and catches up on the latest news at the local pub. Whether it’s jobs or someone’s had a baby, you’ll get to hear it here.

4. You have to plan for your grocery run

Unless you’re in a rather dense village and the corporations haven’t ignored your town, chances are you’ll have to travel a bit to get to the nearest grocery store. If the town is a good 30 minutes away, you had better well make sure you have your groceries for the week planned well in advance. The supermarkets are only open till 5:30 PM on weekdays and till noon on Saturday (if you’re lucky). When in doubt, you end up buying surplus provisions. It can always be thrown in the freezer.

5. You learn to become handy around the house

Getting a tradesman to come in and fix up the broken tap or the faulty lawnmower will only rob you of bragging rights at the pub. You end up asking your friends or just putting your mind to it and figuring out how it’s done. And once you’re done fixing it, you go back out to chop wood. What good is a fireplace without it? When in doubt, you use duct tape. If that doesn’t work, a staple gun or liquid nails (glue) will do the job just fine.

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6. You are part of a close knit community and proud of it

We have a strong sense of community because there are only so many people that matter. Some of us have helped Mr. Brown herd his cattle and assisted the local junior soccer team in raising funds to keep the club going. Although we’re not exactly best mates with everyone, we do have a smirk on our faces every time we think of our community. Most of us are close enough to the community that we can spot a stranger a mile away. Let the staring games begin!

7. You learn to drive at a very young age

ATVs, motocross bikes, trucks, tractors, etc. are all just toys waiting for a master to commandeer them. With the limited number of hands available in the household to assist with chores, you learn to master these machines well before you actually reach the legal age to drive.

8. They think we shop at the farmers market

Farmers markets are pretend-markets for the suburban and city dwellers. Food reaches you through the same channels as everyone else: supermarkets. You’ll likely have a favorite local deli or butcher, but all other packaged foodstuff still comes from the supermarket. How else is one supposed to get carrots and bananas all year round? However, the barter system is alive and well in the country and still very much legitimate currency. Veggies are swapped between neighbours. You can trade wild rabbits or ducks for farmed pigs with your farmer friends. Eggs are traded for lemons.

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9. You have a veggie patch even if you farm

This is more of a charm and a privilege of having more land available to you. Those apartment dwellers would never be able to get away with it. Your veggie patch gives you instant access to herbs and other condiments like tomatoes and chillies just in case you forgot to pick them up in the last grocery run. Besides, it doesn’t get any fresher than plucking the veggie off the vine.

10. You don’t have to lock the door to your home

The odds of someone breaking in are so slim that it really isn’t worth a bother trying to lock the door behind you. Your property is remote enough that anti-social elements dare not venture anywhere near it.

11. You have to drive everywhere

Unless you’re out for a stroll on your acreage, this one is in fact true. Distance between dwellings and amenities make driving a necessity. Even if you were to give your neighbor, whose birthday you know so well, a Mars bar slice, you would have to drive over, because they live 3 miles away. That being said, I’ve come across a fair few cyclists in country towns.

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12. We love having guests “pop in”

“Popping in” starts with the obligatory “Heeellllooooooo,” 40 decibels higher than one would normally speak. That’s just in case the person you’re popping in to see is out in the massive backyard feeding the chicken. If there’s no answer, you’re fully endorsed to let yourself in through the back gate to see if they’re in the back shed. I said back shed, because the front shed is for fixing things and the back shed is for chicken feed and pick-axe. And don’t worry, the giant Boxer, Alsatian, Rottweiler dog is there for show. They’re a friendly lot, unless you’re the town veterinarian. If so, RUN! If not, just let yourself in the house, which is unlocked, and make yourself a cup of coffee. The neighbor probably just popped out for more milk and should be home soon.

13. You prefer quiet time

Unlike urban life which is on the go all the time, you have the privilege of putting some quiet time aside for yourself. No, this isn’t isolation. Just time to reminisce and perhaps meditate and enjoy the peace within and around you. The best time for quiet contemplation is at night. In the country, where there is a distinct lack of street lighting, the stars seem to shine brighter. You can see the “arms” of our galaxy. Put on your stove top kettle, make a cup of coffee (or tea), take out the deck chair, and watch the stars (and occasional satellite) while sipping your coffee with a homemade cookie to munch on.

14. You are culturally in sync with the world

It’s the 21st century and the great invention that is internet, shortly after television, has made its way to rural towns. That’s right, city-slickers, we have the same sort of access to information and programs as you do. While you’re reading this we’re already thinking of whether to go to Bordeaux or Burgundy for our upcoming vacation in France.

15. You know that not everyone from the country is a horse rider

This has got to be the most common misconception among suburban and city dwellers. The first thing they think of about rural lifestyle is horse riding. Practically everyone has cars these days, and horses have been replaced by ATVs for the most part. Unless you’re part of the local pony or rodeo club or are a horse breeder, chances are you are unlikely a horse rider. The movie “city slickers” has a lot to answer for.

Featured photo credit: Australian Apprenticeships via australianapprenticeships.gov.au

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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