This article is part of a series known as #30DaysOfThanks.


Country

Autumn is easily my favorite season of the year. Because I live in the Midwest, the air is crisp and cool and the leaves on the trees are changing into illustrious golds and auburns. Currently a city-dweller, I love going for walks in the park, wearing my favorite fall clothes, and sipping coffee. It brings me back to simpler times when I was growing up in the countryside.

I am thankful for my country upbringing. Without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Moving to a house in the countryside when I was young was fate. I was that girl who wore overalls and had my hair in a ponytail almost every day. I could be found outside more often than not, climbing the Russian olive trees that lined our property. I was free and invincible, a bird who only wanted to fly.

As I grew older, I learned many new things. I learned how to drive an ATV when I was 12. My sister and the neighbor kids would take turns going for rides with me around and around our expansive yard. I would gleefully go on snowmobile rides with my dad and cousins in the winter, the bitter cold turning our cheeks a rosy red. No matter the season, when I would get home from school, I would be outside exploring my surroundings for new things.

But more importantly, I am thankful for the lessons I have learned from living in the countryside. Living in the country taught me many things, among them resilience, patience, an appreciation for the simpler things in life, and how to find beauty in the seemingly ordinary.

1. Resilience. Being resilient is the ability to bounce back from adversity and obstacles. Living in the country showed me that life can be harsh, but with all things, the times always change. The trees may lose their leaves in autumn, but the new buds will always arrive in the spring after a difficult winter. C’est la vie – such is life. As I grew older, I learned how to remain strong in the obstacles that I faced as time progressed.

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2. Patience. Everything takes time. My country upbringing has made me thankful for the fact that I have learned to be patient. I used to spend so much time out in the shelter belt of trees that lined our house, watching for the deer and other wildlife that would step out into the open wheat fields. I had to wait if I wanted to see them. The same can be said in our lives – we have to wait for the things we want to see happen.

3. Appreciation for the simple things While living in the countryside, I would get excited about things that my friends found to be so simple. When you live many miles from town, it becomes that much more meaningful for a trip to go shopping or a movie with friends. My country upbringing taught me that I need to have appreciation for the simple things in life and to not take them for granted, no matter the circumstances.

4. Beauty in the ordinary. I see the world with an artist’s eyes. I am thankful that I got to grow up surrounded by nature at a time in my life when I could really enjoy it. I loved seeing the beauty in what many people found “ordinary.” The rolling storm clouds before a heavy rain. The blushing lavender hue of the many lilac bushes that surrounded our yard. The wind rippling through the birch trees in the backyard. The snowflakes falling on a quiet world and blanketing it in white. The endless horizon that goes on for miles and miles. The dawn of a new day in its bright, vibrant sunrise. Without my country upbringing, I would not have gotten to experience these things.

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As a new year is just around the corner, I am taking this time to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned from living in the country and how to apply them to my future. I could not be more thankful for the experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met, and the challenges I’ve overcome from growing up in the country.