A More Fulfilling Life

In Yellow House Chronicles by Natalie Shaw

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A month ago, I lived in a small apartment in the center of a mid-sized city in the Midwest, in the hippest neighborhood, steps from some of my favorite bars and restaurants, blocks from my friends, a mile from the house where I grew up. I had hardwood floors, a sun room, and Internet access.

I was also very bored. I loved that apartment, but after two years of not packing everything I owned into a car and moving it somewhere else (the longest I had gone since I graduated high school), I was starting to feel rooted. Luckily, a unique opportunity had presented itself, in the form of a yellow farmhouse that had just come up for rent.

I had many qualms with this idea. The house is a literal stone’s throw from my place of work, a hunter/jumper training and boarding facility just outside of the city. I would not just be working from home, I would be living at work. I had heard stories from those who had lived there before me about boarders knocking on the door no matter how many times they repeated the phrase, “It’s my day off,” about middle of the night phone calls from the owner asking them to go check on an imaginary issue up at the barn, about having zero privacy and “living in a fishbowl.” The house is also teetering on the edge of civilization, with the closest food source being a gas station 4 miles away, where they charge $6.50 for a box of cereal. And I’d be living there alone. In the dark. Every night.

And, most importantly, it has no Internet. No cable, no satellite, no DSL, no dial-up. My days of streaming 5 hours a day of Netflix and Hulu would be over.

I learned this crucial fact 2 weeks before I was due to move in. I had given my notice, my landlord had rented out my apartment to someone else, the boxes were packed, and yet I still hesitated. It may sound ridiculous, but I LOVE the Internet. I will admit my addiction; I am not ashamed.

But I knew it was too late. I did some research, purchased a very limited mobile hotspot plan from Millenicom, and poured one out for my fallen Netflix account. “I’m going to live a more fulfilling life,” I told myself, and repeated the phrase to my friends and family whose jaws dropped at the idea of me living without Internet.

A month ago, I would have been on my couch, watching Law & Order: SVU for the 17th time through, listening to my crazy neighbor scream at his mom on the phone through the wall.

Tonight, I am writing this from my porch swing, watching a storm pass by to the north. There are two deer grazing in the pear orchard to my left, and a chorus of peepers from the pond up the hill. It’s just me, and the turkey gobbling somewhere in the woods.

I’m living a more fulfilling life.

Photo (Flickr CC) by Ian Sane

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Natalie Shaw
Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Natalie spent her college years at the impossibly idyllic Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio where she studied International Studies, Environmental Studies, and floating down rivers in inflatable tubes. After being forced to graduate in 2009, she hopped around the country for a few years, grooming wildly expensive horses in New Jersey for Olympic equestrian Anne Kursinski, yelling at puppies at a dog daycare back in Omaha, and playing corporate lackey for one long year at a real estate information company in Washington, D.C. She landed back in Omaha in the fall of 2011 and is working hard to cure her wanderlust. Natalie now lives and works at a horse boarding facility just north of Omaha with her cat Obie, 60 horses, and approximately 1,000 wild turkeys.
Natalie Shaw

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