I like living in the country because, for me, it’s less stressful than the city. I know that might sound weird to some people, and I guess it can be. Why would the country be any different from the city when it comes to stress? Aren’t you just stressed from school, not from where you live? Well, studies show that living in the countryside or even taking a walk in nature can help your health, stress levels, and even extend your life.
Growing up, I loved living in a small town in the middle of nowhere. I’d spend my days with my siblings outside catching bugs, playing on our swing set, and digging in the dirt. Of course, these are things kids do, countryside or not. But the country never had the background of a busy highway or a bus rumbling down the street. it was birds and crickets humming in the breeze.
In high school, I couldn’t wait to get out of my small town, which was the consensus for most of the teenagers I knew. Back then, my town was stifling and I wanted to graduate high school and go to the big city for some adventures.
For the first year, living in the city was great, there were so many awesome and different things about it that I had never seen or experienced in my home town. But it was also different in a bad way. Downtown Ottawa is not like the downtown back home. In my home town when walking the “downtown,” you’re likely to see several people you know (or even vaguely know, but you’ll still say hi), and the streets are lined with flower boxes. Buses don’t exist there, and most of the crosswalks don’t have lights, but are courtesy crosswalks where the cars just stop for you. Now, not to say downtown Ottawa or even Ottawa itself is bad, it’s just different, for better or worse, from the country.
For me, there’s a sense of peace when I enter the countryside, and not just because all the traffic noise is gone. It’s an internal peace that comes from knowing there’s trees and grass outside my window; when I walk the sidewalk on the main drag I’ll know the people I pass. In the country, I have a sense that I belong. Maybe I could belong in the city but haven’t found my place yet. But I do know that I’ll always have a place in the countryside.
Madeleine Lange-Chenier is a small-town girl who much prefers the feel of grass beneath her feet than concrete city streets. She likes to read (mostly fiction), write (just about anything), and tell her pets how cute they are (approximately 1,000 times a day). She makes really good guacamole and really bad cheese scones.