I think the biggest reason I love Jane Austen's novels is that her characters' worlds are usually small. They live out their lives in small villages with a small circle of intimate friends. They have dinner parties, walk to the village together, and do their shopping with baskets hanging from the crooks of their arms.
I would love to move to a small village somewhere in the British Isles and immerse myself in its daily life. There's comfort in knowing a small group of people very well.
The place where I spent my first eighteen years was like that; Turtletown, Tennessee. Everybody knew each other and who did what, when, and to whom. Sometimes it was annoying as a teen. I couldn't get away with much! But as an adult, I like it. It's comforting when I go back to hear Mama and Daddy talking about all the doing of the community folk. They've both grown up and lived all their adult lives in the same place; unusual in this day and time.
In some ways the small town view is stifling and narrow. My parents have managed to avoid this outlook though. Daddy is very well-read, and Mama teaches quilting at a nearby college. They've done some traveling too. In some ways I like their life better than mine.
So, the hard question is...how can I make my life, where I am, better? One way for sure is to see fewer people. This past week I had intimate contact with around one hundred people. That doesn't count all the people I normally see in the course of a day while shopping or driving. Two days this week I've had to miss events I wanted to go to, because I felt like I needed to have some alone time to decompress from all the "people time".
I'll tell you, having a sensitive nature is a curse sometimes. I frequently get "that look" from even my own family members when I say that I can't go here or there because I need to be alone. I guess if you're not that way it's really hard to understand.
So, pray for me as I make changes in my life that will keep me more centered and less stretched to breaking.