I’ve always lived in cities or suburban areas. It’s not been intentional, but it's where the jobs are or my friends live.
I’ve lived in big cities since 2006 and enjoy the realm of opportunities. I’ve often thought about residing in rural settings, though.
There’s something desirous about living amongst nature and with few neighbors. I've always had an emotional connection to rural settings and enjoy the solitude (not to be confused with loneliness).
My grandparents lived on a farm in rural Indiana all their lives and there were times I contemplated buying their house when they passed on. I thought it would be great to live amongst rows of corn and soybeans, have time to write, and practice some hobby.
I spent time in their nearby town, though, and realized the attitudes of people weren’t quite the same as mine. Confederate flags were flown and life focused on farming, something of which I have no understanding. I'd be hard pressed to find a good vegetarian meal. Still, there was something to this idea of living apart and away from others.
I currently live in Boston and today I gravitate to the idea of moving to rural New England. I’d still like to work on my writing and develop some hobby, maybe have a kid and be a stay-at-home dad. Rural New England could be a nice mixture of my values, a connection to the environment, and an occasional vegetarian meal at a restaurant.
I think about what my loneliness would do if I didn’t live near others, though. That might spur me to become closer with the few neighbors who were within a mile of me. It's also likely I'd take part in activities in the town nearest to where I lived. It may be that living in a rural setting would be all I needed to develop those relationships I lack. From research I’ve seen, it appears loneliness affects everyone, whether we’re in the city or the country.
I’ve had many opportunities to make connections with people in the city. Yet, given the plethora of folks to choose from, I tend to find myself more picky than I would be if I was in a rural setting. And if I found myself in a place where I had no one else from which to choose to connect.
So it's possible I would find connections easier if I moved to rural New England or my grandparents’ farm. Or perhaps it’s more important I work at building community, no matter where I am. I love both rural and urban settings in equal amounts.
Thus, it’s a trade off of the simplicity and quiet of the rural areas with the number of opportunities available in the city. We don’t always get to choose but both can provide experiences of loneliness and social isolation. Yet both are also capable of building connections. In the end, I suppose it's important for me to always be making an effort no matter where I find myself.
This blog is an exploration of the subjects of belonging and loneliness. I also look at mental health issues. I seek to provide content to my readers that is informative and helpful. If you don't want to miss anything, sign up for my email list.