Earlier this week, I went with my wife and two kids to visit a friend's farm. She lives about 30 minutes away from our suburban neighborhood. We went to pick blackberries as a family and visit her animals. She keeps award winning horses and goats, along with dogs and cats galore. Neighboring farms raise cattle, llamas, cattle, chickens and various other animals. There are wild deer, coyote, turkey vultures, possum, and birds throughout the area. Right next door to her 20 acre property are the state forests that eventually lead up to Mt. Hood and the Cascade range.
The sights and sounds are so different from suburban or urban life. It got us to thinking on the drive home what it would be like living in the different settings. Ever since we planned on having a family, we moved away from more urban settings to have a home with a yard but close to the typical suburban necessities. I think if it were just the two of us again, we might consider either the urban settings, for proximity to the diverse culture, restaraunts and activities, or a rural setting where we could develop our love for the outdoors and living closer to the land. As it is, we are happy with the compromise that is the suburbs. It accomplishes our goals of raising a family in a supportive environment and having stability for our children.
I didn't have that stability growing up. I moved 5 times in the first 12 years of my life, 4 of those different countries. My childhood was very international and exotic, introducing me to a lot of different cultures and experiences. But I never had the sense of home that I wanted for my children. That early transient lifestyle affected how I made friends and attachments as the years went on. I wonder how my kids will view it as they grow older, having lived their lives in one town.
It's fun and interesting to consider how those different settings and different priorities would affect our lifestyles. I think there is value in each setting - rural, suburban, and urban. Which is your favorite and why?