It is not until you get away from the New York City metro area that you realize that no matter how simply you try to live your life, stress is overwhelming. 70 hour work weeks are the norm. Trains break down. Just last week the train that my mother and husband were traveling was involved in a fatality on the tracks. An accident, not a suicide. That is stressful. The girls are involved in many activities and we are always running here and there. There is always talk within our family and in the basketball stands of who is going where for high school, what colleges children are applying to and what scholarships have been applied for. There is stress in the competitive environment of education, whether you are homeschooled or not. In some ways I think homeschooled children have additional stress because they may sense pressure to keep up with or exceed the accolades that traditionally schooled children experience. I did not think I was under much stress but now that I am away from it all I realize that I was, in fact, under a great deal of stress.
Country living has a way of taking that stress away, even if it is only for a week. Not everyone is caught up in the pace of living that we experience. Every time I visit Tennessee it catches me off guard by how friendly people are. In the North East there is a reserved coolness to people. We are friendly. I think with all the North East has experienced over the past few years, we have learned to help one another, share ourselves and extend courtesies. But here it is different somehow. It feels more genuine, more sincere.
It makes me wonder what our family’s life would be like in a state that shares our values and philosophies on moral issues as well as governmental and societal ones. There are times I feel suffocated in Connecticut where I am always in the minority on issues like the 2nd Amendment, Right to Life, and the preservation of the definition of marriage. At times it is exhausting to feel like you are always fighting to hold true to what you believe when your community is moving in a vastly different direction.
So I dream of Tennessee sometimes. It may be that the grass is just greener here. But when I first arrived I took this picture on the dock and Instagramed “my boots feel more comfortable in TN.”. It was a double entendre. Cowboy boots go with anything from jeans to a dress in Tennessee... but I also feel more comfortable in my boots, in Tennessee.