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becoming a local, minus the yokel

We all aspire to fit in, wherever we go. It was my brother who recently pointed out the rather obvious fact to me that fitting in doesn’t necessarily equate to feeling at home in your surroundings. We may feel accepted by our immediate company, but whether we feel truly settled in our environment is another matter entirely. The most important thing is whether we feel comfortable where we’re at – a sense of belonging. It was this pearl of wisdom that prompted me to re-evaluate my recent trip home to the family farm.

There I was, up to my elbows in sheep sh*t, when I was struck by the realization that the formerly tedious and dread-worthy task of shearing, was suddenly a challenging, gratifying and dare I say, enjoyable experience. Had my perspective been influenced by the knowledge that I was now too tall to fit under the shearing shed to retrieve the shaky ewe, who had plunged into a sea of manure when landing at bottom of the shoot and was too tired to make the journey out from under the shed un-aided? Was it the knowledge that I was unofficially ‘safe’ from being nominated for the role of said rescuer – a task that usually saw my heroic efforts rewarded by being peed or pooped on by the 100 or so other sheep penned-up in the shed above. Despite what ‘McLeod’s Daughters’ promoted, shearing time is without a doubt one of the least glamorous chores going. Why do you think many former-farm girls willingly swap the land in favour of the nearest nail salon? If reality resembled the tv shows, then the average ‘Farmer Wants a Wife’ participant wouldn’t need to look any further than the local post office to find the love of his life.

I can’t lie that being country girl at heart does mean that I am prone to the odd heart flutter at the sight of a pair of well-fitting Wranglers or check shirt. Whether I am ready to chuck my newly established ‘townie’ lifestyle just yet though, is debatable. I am guilty of being just as shallow as the next girl is and admit to enjoying an impromptu visit to the local beautician to have the odd stray hair or two wicked-off if the fancy takes me.

While I may be unsure at this point of where I will ultimately end up, I do know that life has been a journey thus far. Opportunities have arisen and fate has intervened, whether in the form of new and exciting pathways or an unwelcome curveball, dealt with a swift, penetrating and resounding blow. Life is unpredictable, as are the people we’ll meet in the future. Goodness knows my emotions up until this point have taught me that how I’m feeling about myself today, where I’m at – geographically and emotionally – and where I picture myself in the future is unpredictable. It has only just dawned on me though that if I don’t stop aspiring to feeling comfortable in the moment, or chase an ideal about a sense of belonging, then I may actually miss the moment entirely. I will never truly feel at home anywhere. Never feel content. The unforeseeable-ness of it all comes down to life experiences that we have along the way that will ultimately influence where we end up – whether arriving or returning.

I wonder how many of us are guilty of such a crime as not ‘living’ in the moment – de-valuing it by projecting our thought process into the future or burdening ourselves with those from the past. I’d be willing to make a sneaky assumption that it isn’t an uncommon trait. Regardless though, for myself, if I were not so fortunate to have the opportunity to experience the two contrasting lifestyles – country vs city – then I would not truly appreciate either. Whether this will determine if I audition for the next season of ‘Farmer Wants a Wife’ or not, will remain to be seen. What I am convinced about though, is that like most things this life shows us, the moment you stop looking for something, it more often than not, appears. It is such a philosophy as this that I aspire to putting into practice, so that I stop missing and start enjoying the moment – and as for the rest? Watch this space!

(Image credit: 1.)

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