Change your region Australia

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At the risk of sounding like an old crone, I have a message for the young people of regional Australia… Stay put. Recognise how good you have it. Grow and prosper in a place that loves you back!

Now I’m well aware that if someone had said these words to me in my teens or twenties, I would have smiled politely and backed away from the crazy lady. It is the prerogative of youth to stray from the fold and sample the grass on the other side of the fence. God knows I did. I wandered aimlessly as a cloud for four years. Some might say I’m still wandering.

It’s been well documented that in regional areas, young people are noticeably absent. The minute many teens gain their freedom, they’re out the door and heading to the city and all it offers. More people, more opportunity, better broadband, more more more!! You can walk down the street without everyone knowing your business, apply for a job where you didn’t go out with the boss’ daughter in grade 9, study something whacky like fine arts.

I don’t doubt for a minute that all this is fantastic for young people, but I would like to point out a little fact and hope that you store this idea in the back of your mind: city folks are sad. All that more more more is actually too much. All that connectedness and fast-paced living leaves them feeling isolated and depressed.

Obviously not everyone in Sydney of BrisVegas is sunk deep in depression, but there is a marked difference in happiness levels between those living in the city and those living in regional and rural communities. There’s even a line in the sand, or dirt, depending on where you live: according to the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index report, if you live somewhere where there are fewer than 40,000 people, you feel safer, more connected and generally happier.

The fact of the matter is that the small, relatively safe and seemingly limited town in which you grew up is more likely to provide you with a satisfying life. Believe it or not, one day you’ll cherish the interactions that irritate you now – chatting to shop owners, seeing the same people around, working in the family business.

So go forth, get your degree, enjoy your travels and live hard and fast for a few years. But when it’s time to have a family and think about settling down, remember where you came from and the idea that maybe, just maybe, you’ll be happy there.



Published: May 4, 2011 10:20am by johegerty.

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