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Loneliness of country living

 
steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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If memory serves ....  marina sent me an email asking me about this and I said "put it in the forum!"

I want to say "see - putting stuff in the forum gets you much better response than if you just ask me." 

But, I think the real judge is marina ....

 
                    
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  I am pleased with this thread, to say the least. 
 
pollinator
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i have always found that the rural life has been lonely for me..it was like neighbors really didn't want me around, or their husbands didn't..i might keep them from folding clothes or something.

duh.

i've lived 39 years in a very isolated rural area and it has sometimes been very difficult..ihope you find an answer to your problem..hey the internet helps.
 
                
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I guess it depends on the community you live in.  We chose our community based on the diversity of people who live here and the activities that happen here.  There is so much going on that we don't have time to be lonely.

We made a point of going around to meet all our neighbours the first week we were here, and attending the annual general meeting of every society and association we heard of.  We actually have to be careful not to get over-committed.  It would be easy to be out doing stuff every night of the week.

I joined the volunteer fire department, my wife is taking an improve class, I am teaching a computer class later this month, we are members of the community association, the arts society, the conservancy association, and through all of those activities, we have made lots of friends.

I guess what I am saying is that there are probably things to do and ways to meet people in most communities.
 
Posts: 97
Location: Limestone, TN
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In the country, East Tennessee.  Just joined.  I am taking a break from Facebook is honestly why I joined.    No homeschooling families, no permaculture.  Only know of one other gardener  in our area.  I am into wild plants and foraging.  I know the neighbors think my acre of weeds is insane.  Two years here and my first permaculture experience.  Also plant based diet.  5 kids.  Recently single again.  I don't fit in, at all.  Kids and plants are literally my life  Yes, I get lonely. I get excited when I get a package and can talk to delivery person.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 4328
Location: Anjou ,France
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When ever I see posts like yours Jane I say thank goodness for the internet ( especially a safe space like permies )  at least you can talk to the delivery man:woman  ( i live in france )
So have heart and just be yourself . I am often reminded of what I once read about islam ( I'm not a muslim ) when asked how to encourage people to be muslim the phrophet advised just to be a good muslim as people will copy you . I think its the same with permaculture - share your surplus( I grow tonnes of courgettes and pumpkins for this purpose )  and when people ask how you do it tell them . As for being single it sucks I know at times I always found partners when I was not looking too hard

David
 
Jane Southall
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Thanks, David.  We have always dreamed of living in rural France.  Maybe on day.  I had to look a word up.  Zucchinis!  I don't look for partners.  But sometimes I wish for someone to help with labor.  Have no surplus yet.  Still getting a feel for this property.  It doesn't look attractive right now, yet I think maybe by next summer folks will think...oh maybe she is doing something.  I appreciate the encouragement.

 
David Livingston
pollinator
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I am sure it will look great in time , I too am looking for a helper ( I already have a partner shes just starting to garden )  really just to look after animals whilst we are away but I find once you start small things can lead to big things .
As for being odd my Landlord is constantly amazed at what I am doing and keeps talking about giving me more land so just go for it I say . Bit by bit . Maybe your kids can help or even have a garden of their own invite other kids . Its cool to carve your own pumpkins ( or so I am told being far too old for that sort of thing )

David
 
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I had posted something along the same lines at one time. After about a week by myself, I find a reason to go to " town". I just came back from a funeral in ME. Two things happened there. One, the obvious and two, I was reunited with a side of the family that I had not seen in 25 years ( my ex wife's) and I got to meet my daughter's boyfriends family. By ME standards, they are not far away from where I'll be in the spring. While watching my child bury her mom was not too cool. Many bridges were reopened and some new ones built. My exes brother even offered the use of some heavy equipment and a place to sleep if need be. We had never quite seen eye to eye. His offer was sincere . They say no man is an island. It's pretty good to know that, when I'm up there, if I need help or just gotta go have a beer with someone, the option is there.....Larry
 
Jane Southall
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I hope you are right, David...I am doing lots of very small things!  The kids do as they please in garden.  Everyone has their interests.  My oldest is succulents.  So her garden is indoors.  But we all love plants. Good luck, with finding caretaker.  Larry, sorry for your daughter's loss.  I too reconnected recently with family from exes side.  And they aren't too far away.  It was definitely a positive and I feel better for it, as well.
 
pollinator
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I live alone as the only human here. I have many animals, including some dogs that have their own door into the house and are very good company. I get lonely sometimes. Mostly want someone to help with the maintence and upkeep of this old home. And with wood cutting, and mowing, and cooking... Etc...  But I bought this place for the solitude. Back when I was shopping for a retirement place I picked deep in the woods without many neighbors. Now have neighbors on all 4 sides... :/. And they are not really like minded folks. Not bad, but not people I want to be close friends with. I do have a job, I work weekend nights at a horse hospital. It can be quite exciting at times. There's 3 people on at any given time. A dr and 2 techs. And the dr changes every 2 weeks. (intern) I get plenty non permie social time there... But at home I do what I do. Care for the animals and plants. Try and turn dirt into soil. Used to have a harvest party every fall in early December... Where everyone was invited and must bring something to eat that they grew, foraged, hunted or fished for and it was a big deal. Now all of those folks have died or moved away... Now honestly the Internet is mostly the reason I don't get out and meet new folks... That and being somewhat of a social misfit. I'm okay with that... But I do get lonely sometimes...
 
Jane Southall
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I am social misfit, too.  Have you ever made a post to find out if there is anyone near you, like minded.  I have non permie friends in a nearby town.  I see them occasionally.  Yet, I am on a different "road" now.  And I have always been the odd one, and now I am in a league of my own, entirely.  Online is just not the same as a real person to  sit on the porch with and chat about common interests.  Dogs and plants are good friends, and my kids are good friends too.  Yet, I get it and forging new relationships is hard for me.  
 
pollinator
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I live in a 7500 Hectare Forest, I have no neighbours on any boundary, and I can travel about 10Km to a small village/ town.
I purchased my place 45 years ago because of its location.
Over the years I have many times when I needed some solitude and a mate has suggested my small property was probably what kept me sane, being able to go away from the world.
I am not a hermit, I have a number of friends and do catch up either by phone, internet, walk down the road or travel to the big smoke.

But I like time to think, tinker with my toys, prepare my racing sidecars without interruption.
Something that is not possible in a big city, for myself.

I do have a dog that appeared out of the forest one day and chose to stay, and she no longer runs away, always hangs around the farm and loves to jump in the vehicles for a drive anywhere.

Its amazing how much I discuss with the dog, plan buildings, tune my machines or select paint colours. I notice she has never said a cross word to me.

I do think the internet has been a boon for anybody in the country, I retired here 3 years ago having run a business for 35 years where I learned to dislike phones, deadlines and non payers.
Now can choose when I want to engage with people or not, and I choose often to do so.

So while people may feel isolated, remember you can make different choices. I did and its good.
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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Jane
Lots of small things add up
One job I am about to start is to redig a ditch I just dig a yardish  a Day ish
It's a big job but I will have finished by the end of sept in time for the autumn rains every big job is really lots of little jobs

David
 
Jane Southall
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I think you are right, David.  Thanks.  Slow and steady...
 
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This topic is on my mind a lot.  My 2 brothers and I left south Louisiana and moved to northeast TX for the horse industry.  I took a left turn and got interested in deep green sustainability.  A couple of years later I moved to Austin.  It's definitely been fun here and there are lots of like-minded  people, but the land is mostly out of my price range and the traffic is really bad.  

I've also learned that even amongst my hippie friends we have our differences.  It's more comfortable being around other permies, but it isn't a Panacea.  

So, I'm considering buying land within an hour from my brothers (parents too, they followed), but I fear the culture clash and lonliness.  

I want to be there as my parents age further and my brothers raise their children, and there's 12 more inches of rainfall on nice soils, but.....oh my, I'm different from them.

When I lived up there in 2006 I had one friend that appreciated organic food.  He was very new age and vegetarian.  Now 10 yrs +, more of them appreciate local or organic food, from what I can tell on the surface, but my social life will change big time if I move up there.

I've spotted 14 acres that is 20 miles from three different towns of 15k people, but I'm still scared.

In the meantime I'm renting on an old farm on the edge of the city and I haven't been meeting new people often.  I'm feeding pigs and horses in the evening instead of going to city things to meet people.  As it turns out though, few of these people around the city want a true homesteading life.  They just like to party on a farm and wear half western/half hipster outfits as they drink under a string of lights and overlook a garden that someone else digs in.
 
steward
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I think loneliness sucks, but aloneness is great. My wife and I purchased some land more than 2 hours drive from Nashville, are building a little house, and I can't wait to move. I'm tired of this city. The nearest town where we're moving to has a population of less than 400. I've experienced loneliness when I was much younger, having times of no girlfriend for years and living alone, but now I have a stellar wife and we both yearn for the quiet simple country life. I love my alone time, in the garden or hiking in the woods for example. I've noticed myself becoming more stubborn and ornery as I grow a little older, and I joke with my wife that if she goes first, I'll never remarry, and will build a cabin in the woods in the mountains of Idaho or something, capitalize on alone time with nature and no one will ever see me again. I think it would be great, and I'd die outside in my garden, and after a lifetime of eating animals, I'd return the favor and wild animals can devour me, going full circle in life.
 
Posts: 102
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I moved from the chaotic life of So. Calif to the quiet life of country living.  Packed up my belongings and my dog and just moved.  I got everything I wanted...access to wilderness, 1 acre with no neighbor on top of me, no traffic to speak of, four seasons and more rain. That being said, there are times I feel lonely. Making genuine connections with people can sometimes be difficult.  Wouldn't it be great if permies gave us access to peeps that live in our area?  ...likeminded people!  Thinking I'll go bake an apple pie!
 
Posts: 23
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I truly do not understand this thread at all.

I turned 50 in April. I grew up in an agrigultural community of 3,000 spread out over 20 square miles. In college, I moved to Phoenix, and began a decades-long wanderlust that took me to New York City, Chicago, California, Mexico and just about everwhere in between. And most of the time? I found myself trying to get away from the stink, the heat, the filthiness, and the wall-to-wall people of city life. Even with backyard gardens and boarding stock animals at nearby farms, I couldn't deal with the constant contact with people and I was more often than not stressed out and unhappy.

A few years ago, I went through a shortlived marriage to a city scoundrel (who, despite not wanting to work, insisted that we *must* have central air) followed by a nasty divorce. At that time, I made a conscious decision to bite the bullet and return to my roots to do what *I* want with no concern for the wants of others. It was the best decision of my adult life.

This morning on my little farm, I woke with no alarm (I don't even own a clock anymore) at 6:30, and lay in bed reading for a couple of hours before getting up to take care of the animals. I made three pounds of ghee that I started yesterday whilst I watered my herb garden in the front yard. Caught a moth beating itself on the windows and let it ouside, put all of yesterday's washed dishes from those projects away, and mixed up herbs for a nice big pot of tea. It was a beautiful, quiet morning...until it was interrupted by someone pulling their noisy car up into my private drive.

Not gonna lie: my heart skipped a beat and I got a little irritable at the idea of having to talk to anyone today. Fortunately, they turned around and left without a word.

I love my time free to paint and write and do cross stitch, harvest this and that, lie around in the pastures in my birthday suit with the dogs and an ice cold thermos of sweet tea. My Daddy is right: people *need* quiet and solitude; it soothes the soul.

...Makes me wish I had never left home in the first place. I would have been better off. You city mice are perplexing. And, personally, people exhaust me.
 
Miki Shiverick
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James Freyr wrote: I joke with my wife that if she goes first, I'll never remarry, and will build a cabin in the woods in the mountains of Idaho



Terrible idea, and one I loathe hearing with a passion. Everyone says this, including half of California, which is why my childhood farming community of 3,000 (Eagle) is now a golfing resort destination of more than 30,000.

People need to stop moving to Idaho to "get away." They've destroyed my home State, and decimated the way of life we native Idahoans treasured and miss deeply.

Even my daddy's cabin (which was built by my great grandfather on top of a mountain we own) is now surrounded on all sides within a half mile territory boundary by transplants from California, New York, etc. doing the very thing you joke about, and they all bring their city culture with them, and insist on "improving" things with concrete and jacked up taxes....
 
master gardener
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Since this thread was sent out is an ish,  I find  it to be an interesting read.  I do live with my wife, but, other than that, I speak with an "outsider" about once every 2 weeks.  I really don't want more contact.
 
pollinator
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I grew up in the county I live in.  My husband is 4 th generation and I am 3 generations here. 1500 sq mile county with 7500 people. We live on 150 acres. It’s quiet. We’ve been other places but we moved back. I’ve watched many many people come and go from the land.

What I find amazing is that people move here and have the intent of living in the “country” without really being prepared for what that means.  There are few services here. We’d be real lucky to get a deputy in 30 minutes and a fire truck in an hour. We plow snow.  We maintain a well. we weld, we carpenter, we mechanic, we garden, we grade our road and usually if we get hurt we drive ourselves to the county hospital.

I don’t think I’ve ever been lonely here in all these years.  My husband and I grew to this life from childhood. We were prepared. Even when he worked away for years it was never lonely. We are busy all the time just living this life.

This is no criticism of anyone but I think that many people who move to the country expect too much.






 
John F Dean
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Hi Janet,

To shape your comment a little, I suspect they have not given enough thought to know what to expect when it comes to considering the impact on all aspects of their lives.  
 
Janet Reed
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John F Dean wrote:Hi Janet,

To shape your comment a little, I suspect they have not given enough thought to know what to expect when it comes to considering the impact on all aspects of their lives.  



Very true.


 
John F Dean
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To explain my observation a little. I was born in one of the largest cities in the country.  At some point in my childhood we lived on acreage.  I have also lived in all points in between.  When my wife and I initially made the decision to homestead, we came up with a simple formula that has worked for us.  I want to live within an hour of a community with an adequate hospital and a selection of stores ...normally a community of 10,000 or so does this.  I also want to live within  a day trip of a large city. Currently I am 120 miles from St.Louis.  I find it a little odd now that I havent been to StLouis in over 3 years now.  But 3 years ago, my wife had a serious injury, and it was nice to have access to high quality care. The formula has worked for us.
 
Janet Reed
pollinator
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John F Dean wrote:To explain my observation a little. I was born in one of the largest cities in the country.  At some point in my childhood we lived on acreage.  I have also lived in all points in between.  When my wife and I initially made the decision to homestead, we came up with a simple formula that has worked for us.  I want to live within an hour of a community with an adequate hospital and a selection of stores ...normally a community of 10,000 or so does this.  I also want to live within  a day trip of a large city. Currently I am 120 miles from St.Louis.  I find it a little odd now that I havent been to StLouis in over 3 years now.  But 3 years ago, my wife had a serious injury, and it was nice to have access to high quality care. The formula has worked for us.



Yep. Thanks.

Some years back New neighbors of mine lost their entire freezer full of food when the power went out for 4 weeks one winter. It was very cold.  But no one told them about the BIG FREEZER outside the front door.

Being prepared to live well without help. How will I get out in the winter if I don’t own a piece of equipment to move snow.  How will I protect my self and my family if there is no law enforcement available.  Do I realize how much forage it takes to keep a cow, horse, pig, sheep, donkey through 7 months of no pasture. Do I have the backup equipment and skills necessary to provide for my family for weeks if the power goes out in the winter.

To me the discouragement, loneliness and disappointment of living in the country comes from not having tools in your tool belt to cope. When you’re prepared Physically and mentally then you meet the day with joy. Even the hard days.  The days in February when it seems summer will never come again.  But there you are, warm, dry and well fed with a book in your hand by the fire dreaming. You have to be prepared not only to live well but to live alone well.



 
pollinator
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Janet Reed wrote:I grew up in the county I live in.  My husband is 4 th generation and I am 3 generations here. 1500 sq mile county with 7500 people. We live on 150 acres. It’s quiet. We’ve been other places but we moved back. I’ve watched many many people come and go from the land.

What I find amazing is that people move here and have the intent of living in the “country” without really being prepared for what that means.  There are few services here. We’d be real lucky to get a deputy in 30 minutes and a fire truck in an hour. We plow snow.  We maintain a well. we weld, we carpenter, we mechanic, we garden, we grade our road and usually if we get hurt we drive ourselves to the county hospital.

I don’t think I’ve ever been lonely here in all these years.  My husband and I grew to this life from childhood. We were prepared. Even when he worked away for years it was never lonely. We are busy all the time just living this life.

This is no criticism of anyone but I think that many people who move to the country expect too much.



Just wanted to use J. Reed's entry as a backdrop to somewhat long-ish, yet paraphrased quotation that I came across:   (from  http://pairadocks.blogspot.com/2015/09/jiddu-krishnamurti-on-loneliness-vs.html   )

"Paraphrasing pretty tightly his comments in Seattle on 6 August 1950:

'What is important is not to conquer, overcome or distract oneself from loneliness, but to understand loneliness by facing it and looking at it directly. In relationship we use others to cover up loneliness; most of what we do is a distraction and attempt to escape. But if we are to understand something, we must give our full attention to it.

How can we give our full attention to something if we are running away from it? How can we give our full attention to loneliness if we are afraid of it, if we are running away from it through some distraction such as work, what we call relationship that actually is not, through religious practice, through entertainment, through politics and power-seeking, through drink?

Many people laugh at loneliness and say, "That is only for the bourgeois; be occupied with something and forget it." But emptiness cannot be forgotten, it cannot be put aside. One must see that without understanding, loneliness in every form of action is a distraction, an escape, a process of self-isolation which only creates more conflict and misery.

If we go more deeply into it, the problem arises of whether what we call loneliness is an actuality or merely a word... a word that covers something that may or may not be what we think it is; what we have been taught to believe it is by our parents, our families, our teachers, our culture, the so-called authorities. Is not loneliness really just a combination of thought and emotion, a result of thinking? And moreover, a kind of thinking so common throughout our environment that we do not see it?

So the very giving of a name to that state may be the cause of the fear which prevents us from looking at it more closely.

Surely there is a difference between loneliness -- an idea and a corresponding set of emotions -- and merely being alone, as "by oneself without others nearby." Aloneness is neither loneliness nor isolation. Loneliness is the experience of ideas and emotions about being alone.

Aloneness is a state in which all influence has completely ceased, both the influence from outside and the inner influence of thinking and memory. Only when the mind is in that state of aloneness can it know the incorruptible. But to come to that, we must understand loneliness, the process of isolation, which is the activity of one's unobserved and unconsidered beliefs.

Alone is just alone. It is our ideas about being alone that make us lonely.'  "   -- paraphrased from Jiddu Krishnamurti
 
John F Dean
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Hi Janet,

Great post. Many of quiet evening my wife and I have had a "What would we do if ...? conversation? And, many times, often years later, those conversations proved to be beneficial.  Of course, there are infinite possibilities.  We try to stick to the more reasonable ones like "...if the main road to tow floods out" rather than " ....if the Martains attack with death rays?"

To build on your example, because the big freezer outside sometimes is too warm,  we make certain we always have enough canning jars to deal with what is in the freezer.  Of course, that would mean the generator was down as well.

My point being, one does not only routinely develop solutions .... one has those solutions in layers.  If plan A shuts down there are plans B, C, & D. The more isolated one lives,  the more important planning is.


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