‘Change’ affects all of us differently. For some people, changing is like a duck to water. No problems at all. For others change is much more difficult – impossible even. New friends, new job, new routine, new life.
“You’ll love it!” They said about my new job out west.
“So many young people and such a good social life!” They added.
This is all true. But it’s not until you get out of your black synthetic city pants and into a good pair of comfy jeans (literally and metaphorically) that you can fully appreciate it. Embracing change is easier (and happens faster) for some, and it doesn’t happen at all for others.
Rural living had never factored into my future plans. I was an inner city apartment kind of dreamer. I think that’s why I resisted it so much at first. And when I did finally embrace it, there was WAY too much local wine involved and I then spent the following twelve months apologising to everyone who witnessed my abysmal fall from grace. Not an ideal way to kick start your time in a rural community.
After my initial nose dive in small town socialising, I relied more on conversation and less on wine to see me through. It paid off. I made loads of great friends and began to see my time out west for what it was – an opportunity. An opportunity to meet new and interesting people. An opportunity to learn about such a different lifestyle to the one that I had known previously. An opportunity to learn about farming and other lines of work completely out of my comfort zone. As a teacher, I learned phrases that I’d never heard before: “piggin’”, “bull dust”, “lamb marking” and “stick picking” are only a few.
I finally grasped the importance of rural and regional areas on my previously sheltered life. Toowoomba was as far west as I had ever dared to venture. Australia ended there for me until I was sent out west to teach. A whole new world then opened up for me.
Change doesn’t have to be difficult, because (most importantly and in spite of my initial resistance), I also learned that not all farmers are grass chewing, big hat and boot wearing country folk, and even if they are, that might be exactly what you didn’t know you needed. And thankfully I figured that out quickly. It certainly worked in my favour all those years ago!