When Being a Smallholder Makes You Lonely
Living on my rural smallholding is Scotland is absolutely the best thing. I don’t have the usual things to worry about.. neighbours etc.
We have an abundance of space to roam and our views are breathtaking. My holiday let guests never want to leave.
I could write an essay on why I love living in the middle of nowhere and I’m sure if you too have a smallholding you know exactly what I mean.
With all of that said there is something I don’t talk about often at all, it’s probably a pride thing or may be I just don’t like admitting it to myself.
The end of long days when all of your jobs are done and you get time to yourself, time to stop and be peaceful.
It’s then it sneaks up in you. You realise, you are actually really quite lonely.
living on a smallholding out in the sticks is isolating and for the most part this is one of the main reasons we embark on this journey.
But after years of settling in and finding our routine we realise just how isolating this life we chose can be.
Living out in the sticks most certainly has so many benefits and I wouldn’t change any of that for the world. However, everything I do is an event!
Its not like it used to be with local village shops, a friendly local pub or two in the village, village social events - the knock on means there’s no “quick trips” to the shop anymore when you live in the middle of nowhere!
For the most part isolation is my favourite part of being a small farmer - but I am a human being!
I don’t mind admitting I get lonely sometimes too!
I know a lot of people living rurally feel the same and it’s not spoken about enough.
I go for long periods of time without any in real life human contact and that’s fine, I’m usually always so busy I hardly notice.
But there are times even I have my battle with rural loneliness and not connecting with other people in person.
How do I manage my feelings of loneliness?
When I quit my full-time job in 2003 to stay at home with my then two young children and run my smallholding full time I LOVED it!
I always have so many projects going on, my children were young enough to need me but old enough to be a little independent and loved helping out with the smallholding.
Growing my holding over the past two decades has been such an amazing journey and I’ve never been bored or lonely, even when I was single for a long time. Until this past couple of years.
I’m busier than ever and I love it. But I work alone for weeks and weeks on end and I find summertime harder than winter. Winter is so busy and physically demanding I’m too exhausted to get lonely. In summer when days are long, I walk my dogs in an evening and sit in the gardens, that’s when my own company becomes a bit too much!
These feeling are a normal human desire to connect with other humans and believe it or not, I am a bit of a social butterfly.
I got around my feelings of loneliness by exploring new passions, things I’d been thinking about pursuing but didn’t think I had time for.
I find so much peace in creating and writing, living rurally and having freedom gives space for creation so I created new projects that interest me and wrote in my journals.
If I had never of had this time alone, I likely never would have had the mental space to fulfil my bigger passion - teaching others how to expand their skillset. That particular passion then morphed into helping people take charge of their health with organic skin and health care as well. Interestingly enough, thanks to my businesses, I now have the privilege to connect with people on a regular basis which I absolutely love.
If you live rurally and get these feelings of loneliness think about passions that have excited you, things you’ve always wanted to explore and venture into something new.
When we move out to the country we naturally grow. It’s when the “honeymoon” period had long gone these feelings can creep in... Now it’s time to grow again, never stop growing.
The internet is such an amazing tool, stay connected by joining groups, start your own Facebook page and post about your smallholding life. The social media I started just 1 year ago has been a blessing to me many times, I have met so many wonderful people through my posts. Virtual connections can never replace real life connections but they are still lovely to have.
There really are lots of things to combat feelings of loneliness and you would be more than welcome to join us in The Good Life Club.