There was a children’s story, an Aesop’s Fable, once upon a time that showed the life of a country mouse and a city mouse.
The city mouse lived the life of ease. All his conveniences were at his disposal. He ate of the finest foods, and was able to be entertained as he wished.
One day, city mouse visited his country cousin and partook of his cousin’s cuisine and lifestyle. It was of a simple fare, and he complained of the repast. He disliked the simplicity, and longed for the luxuries of his city life.
After voicing his displeasure, he invited his country cousin to come visit him so that he could display the fineries of the town life.
His country cousin obliged.
During a feast on white bread and find morsels, they were interrupted by a cat who sought their demise. They were forced to flee into a mouse hole for safety.
City mouse admitted that his parents were killed by the cat, and he was often targeted for attacked by the beast.
When the country mouse heard this, he left and returned to his simple country life, preferring the safety and simplicity of the country life over the luxuries and struggles of the town life.
Life of simplicity or complexity…
Today, this fable plays itself out. In another blog, I spoke of the city dwellers who moved into the country. They loved the quiet peacefulness, but decried their lack of access to all the luxuries they enjoyed in the city. So, in their effort to enjoy the country life with all the city luxuries, the large businesses would move new stores and facilities to the country.
And the country life disappeared. What was once peaceful became just another city.
Simplicity or complexity…
The question in our modern lives comes down to this: What is important to you?
The life in a city is one filled with complexities. There is a matter of security. What would happen if you had someone steal all your stuff? And the more density the population, the higher the chance of theft, mugging, rape, and the other crimes known to exist within the metropolitan vicinity.
Having grown up in a dense metropolis, I can attest to the difficulties of even walking to a bus stop without being followed. Of going across the bridge to work with a man who kept trying to feel me up on a crowded bus with no place to go…and no one who cared.
The city offered fine luxuries such as good food, grocery stores within walking distance, beautiful parks, and cultural activities such as museums and orchestras. But after being chased across the same bridge by another man who tried to run me off the road, I had had enough of city life.
The number of people living in such a condensed area outweighed the security and safety of my personal being. And I was not willing to compromise anymore.
The country life offered people who would help our a neighbor, even if they didn’t actually like you. And depending on the area, they would welcome a stranger into their community.
There were no major grocery store chains, and not a lot of cultural opportunities. But the natural surroundings and peacefulness more than made up for that lack.
What nature had to offer far outweighed the goods and services an city had to offer.
There is a realistic side to all of this as well, however.
Even if the country offers better opportunities and quiet surrounds, it is being disrupted everywhere by the hoards of city dwellers wanting to escape their troubled cities.
The problem doesn’t lie in their moving to the country. The problem lies in the expectations they bring with them.
And they tend to try to turn the country life into a city life, complete with city politics and expectations.
A word of warning…
It will be uncomfortable. It will be boring. And you will hate it.
It took 13 years of living in a smaller town to grow to live the country life. I missed the luxuries and conveniences I had grown up with in the city.
But I wasn’t trying to change a culture that had existed long before I was born.
And the reward for that patience grew into a love for the country life and country mice so greatly, that I now fervently defend their right to the simple life.
Don’t come with the expectations to change this culture. Come with the expectation of having the culture change you.
It is worth the investment. For everyone.