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In this 24/7 always-connected world, Alexandra Connor considers what it took for her to identify the meaning of happiness – even if that involved going to a farm….with no WiFi…true story.
Over one lot of school holidays, my husband, Mark, took us to his family farm.
His uncle has hundreds of acres of land with cows, chickens, crops and all the things that come along with country life north of Wondai. Even though we only went for three nights, it felt like we packed up half of the house, including our two toddlers, Labrador puppy and four suitcases of clothes…just enough to last us three full days.
After a four-hour trip, which went well, we arrived at the farm.
We were in time for the traditional afternoon tea on the balcony. As we sat there surrounded by greenery, the peace and the quiet, I almost felt the urge to fill the serenity with my loud talk of how we were settling in a ‘big city’ and enjoying living in our new home. But it didn’t feel right. Uncle Bob and his wife are an elderly couple, have both grown up on the farm and wouldn’t be able to survive in a busy place like Brisbane.
It is not about loving the farm, but living it.
The farm is almost like an identity.
My next question was even more out of place. “Do you know your WiFi password, Uncle Bob? I seem to have trouble getting my reception here”.
He didn’t even know what that was.
So for the next three days we were stuck in a place in the middle of nowhere and I couldn’t even chat with friends and family or check Facebook. I wasn’t very excited at this prospect. That night was an early one and strangely quiet. After dinner there was a bit of family catching up and everybody retired at 8.30pm
The next morning after breakfast there was a usual routine of getting the cows, feeding the bull, checking if the chooks had laid eggs and, of course, enjoying the morning tea on the balcony. The boys loved every second of the day, from helping Uncle Bob with daily chores to picking fresh snow peas from the bush and holding the rooster.
As I looked around I couldn’t help wondering where the simplicity of happiness had gone. All we seem to do is constantly wish for more. You have a good job, but you don’t like it; big house, not enough; good car – too old. Mark’s relatives are not the only farm people that enjoy life and are grateful for small things like getting enough rain and having healthy cattle. But still the majority of us are constantly wanting more. I have friends that have it all: great family, good house, enough money but they are not happy.
At the end of the day, what really matters in this life? Having a healthy family and a place to live. How do human beings manage to create inner imbalance or personal dissatisfaction? I am convinced that half of our worries come from our own attitude. If we could only enjoy the little things and appreciate life for what it really is – a miracle.
When I try to define happiness I seem to look at it as an instant. I don’t think that being happy constantly is possible, because then the whole meaning of it is lost. It is just a moment when you realise that there is nowhere else in the world you want to be. It is about that particular instant when you are complete, when you are satisfied.
Watching Aunty Ruth talking about the farm, the love and passionate she has for those chickens, cows and crops is unmistakable.
This is happiness.