The Life That Is Lived Here
I live on the edge of nowhere.
Not the middle of nowhere mind you, just the edge of nowhere. If you turn out of my neighborhood and go to the left, you are ten minutes away from a very large town and not far from the city. Everything you could need is no more than a quick drive up the road, but if you turn out of my neighborhood and go to the right, you are venturing into farmville and not much more.
I absolutely love it.
I mean sure if given the chance I would flee this state completely, but if I have to reside in the state that I’m in, then there is nothing that I want more than to live where I do. I’ve said before that I moved here because I love the accessibility of being right around the corner from some very large towns, yet living just far enough away that I feel like I’m in a quaint little town right out of some old black and white TV show.
I love that I can walk the paths within my neighborhood, have a picnic in the gazebo or one of the many picnic areas, let the kids play on one of the playgrounds, or walk three minutes to pick up The Girl Child from school, and at every single stop, we run into people that we know and love.
There is nothing better than watching the sun set from my bedroom window or sitting on my balcony and watching the deer graze. Every night when I turn off the main street and start the several minute drive through the fields to my house, I feel a peacefulness of the land around me settle into my soul.
Is it weird that farmland can feel like a resort sometimes? I may not have the beach, but when I pull into my driveway and look at the view around me, I just feel… rested.
But to most other people, where I live is probably pretty boring.
When I left my family some pretty harsh things were thrown my way, words including the phrase “so you are really just going to take your children away from all of this and raise them in the middle of nowhere? What kind of life is that for them? They are missing out on everything they were born into!”
First of all, this is NOT the middle of nowhere, this is ONLY THE EDGE OF NOWHERE.
Secondly, all of my family live within 30 minutes of me, I’ve hardly moved to the moon.
Third, were they right?
My entire extended family is what most would consider well off. Many of them live in the same affluent neighborhood, surrounded by all the luxuries that money can by. Not only do they live in homes that many people dream of owning, but they own resort properties, take lavish vacations, and generally just enjoy the best that money can get someone.
But I left all of that and I took my kids with me, and I’m not just talking about the houses. I’m talking about having access to the kind of lifestyle that money can bring and lately I’ve found myself wondering if my kids are getting jilted because of the choice that I made. That maybe one day they will look back and wonder why I ripped them away from a resort and dropped them in the middle of a farm field. I wonder if the things that drew me here would ever really compare to what we left behind.
One phase of my life that sticks out as one of my more depressing times, was when I was living with my grandmother and two of my aunts.
It was a strange kind of set-up and I felt like the 4th wheel on some sort of “Golden Girls” reality TV show. I won’t deny that they were very welcoming, the three of them hovered over me like a broken baby bird, all the while debating with my parents about what they should do with me, but for all the talking that they did, we never really talked, and I was really never heard.
They lived, and still do, in a large house on a lake not far from where I’m living now. Friends would come over and “ooo” and “ahhh” over the lifestyle that I was privileged to enjoy while living there, and yet I would cry myself to sleep every night, and tears would run down my cheeks in the shower every morning.
What should have been a beautiful place felt nothing but empty and barren to me, for I was there because my parents and I no longer wanted each other, and I had nowhere else to go.
After moving in and and out of my parents house during my teen years, it was the last stop I made before I got married and moved in with my ex permanently, and the way that I felt living there was a big reason as to why I rushed to get married in the first place.
But back to present times I’ve found myself wondering have I done too much? Out of my own selfishness, have I removed my kids from too many things that they might have enjoyed? Should I have put up with my family if only so that my kids would have access to things that I could never give them?
And then I got my answer.
I was driving the kids home from daycare the other day, when The Girl Child pointed out the window and said “look at the sky momma! It’s so pretty! Mommy, we are so lucky aren’t we? We are so lucky to live in such a pretty place.”
I couldn’t let the moment pass me by, so out of the question that I myself had been pondering, I asked her “why do you like living here?”
“Because momma, it’s fun! We get to feed the ducks and watch the deer. We get to help the farmers sometimes and we get to catch the lightening bugs! But my favorite is that I love looking at the sky with you momma, because you’re my best friend.”
And then it struck me. She does see the beauty of this place despite it’s lack of frills, money, and luxuries, because she sees something more than that. She sees everything that money can’t buy and she thinks it’s beautiful.
She just loves being with me in a place where she feels loved.
In my past I’ve run the gamut of having and not having things. I went through times where I was living out of a trash bag and sleeping anywhere I could find, but I also spent a great deal of time physically surrounded by the finer things in life while hating every single minute of it, because the wealth of that world never quite matched up with the life that I was leading.
This picture (which is actually a picture I just took of a picture, so excuse the quality) is one that when I look at it, it feels like a punch to the gut. In this photo you will see me in Florida with one of my best friends and an extended group of friends. Her family is extremely well off. I’m talking private planes, jetting setting off to Europe, horse farms, houses all over the country, celebrities calling regularly, that kind of wealthy. The benefits for me were obviously awesome, because here we were in Florida, staying in her grandmother’s penthouse on the beach, where upon arrival she was quickly handed the keys to a jaguar. We drove to meet-up with some friends who happened to be driving a Lexus and a Mercedes, and as we sat there shooting the breeze in a parking lot on a beach, we somehow started talking about how bizarre this was. That a group of 19 and 20 year olds would be sitting outside of our beach houses in our luxury cars. We pulled the cars together, got into a goofy calender shoot pose, and snapped the picture that “one day we are going to want to look back on and remember how lucky we were.”
Yet as I sat there surrounded by everything money could buy, my phone had been filling up with messages from my ex, things that I can’t even bear to type out; messages that caused me to leave not even twenty minutes later, head back to the house, and cry myself to sleep.
I had everything, yet I might as well have had nothing, because all the money in the world wasn’t going to change the way that I felt.
It’s a lesson that I learned a long time ago, but a lesson that when applied to my children, I had completely failed to learn.
My children will never have what I had growing up, and at the same time, I’m thankful that my children will never grow up the way that I did. They have almost none of the wealthier things in life and yet they think they have everything in the world. They have nothing that I had, but they have everything I ever wanted.
When most people look around my house they see emptiness, but when my children look around it, they see how filled it is with happiness. They might not always see tangible things that they love, but they will always feel how loved they are, and it’s not things that make a memory, but the emotions that cause you to remember them in the first place.
It’s not their location or the surroundings that they love, but the life that is lived here.
We as a society spend our entire lives trying to get to a place that we feel is worthy of the lives we want to lead. We chase houses, cars, retirements, vacation homes, and anything else that we feel will make us happy, yet what many of us fail to realize is that it’s not the surroundings that make a life, but the life that we create within our surroundings.
It’s not the view that makes the life, it’s the life that makes the view.
If You Liked This, Read These!