Since finding my own apartment just over 2 years ago, after being separated, and discovering the Whitby waterfront and then the many wonderful Conservation and Wetland areas right in our vicinity, I've grown to really love the area I live in. Originally, I lived in Ajax, after moving there with my children's Dad from Toronto, 20+ years ago. It took quite a while to grow accustomed to not being able to just jump on the TTC and go wherever needed, including work. But, I did grow used to it. I am definitely a city girl, and being most interested in art and reading, I was also an indoor person all my life.
However, with the move to Whitby near the lake front, I slowly began to realize how much I now enjoy walking and hiking, even in winter! I began to learn about birds I never even knew we had in Ontario. I knew animals well, but not birds, and certainly not plants, nor the ecosystem cycles every season, what affects what in our environment - none of that stuff. Though I'm no expert, and this taken up interest is Not my main interest in life - that remains art - I've learned tons. When one walks among nature, it calms the mind, it also brings awareness of how fleeting life can be, how unimportant some of our human worries are. You realize that for instance, birds seem to live on the verge of a constant nervous breakdown just trying to eat and survive, to protect themselves. It also makes one begin to think about how important humans feel they are when really, Our life could be just as fleeting and beyond our total control.
It is also a great way to try to keep fit and it is very therapeutic. It also does not cost a bloody fortune (well I guess the bit of gas sometimes and any small fee to park) like most consumer oriented leisure activities. The fun is all dependant on oneself :-) Most of the areas my partner, a professional artist, and I enjoy are within 5 to 15 mins away so there is little gas expense and some there is no fee associated with parking.
Recently, I was in the process of making the decision to find a permanent rental closer on the Go line to TO and that was affordable for me (rents for 2 bedrooms are higher than in 1988 lol!), as well as still accessible with a shortish drive to the outdoor areas we love to chillax in. Not sure what part of Durham Region or Durham/Toronto border area we'll end up in but we will miss theWhitby waterfront if we leave that area, which we probably will. Luckily it won't be too far from the areas we love and from family, just a little west :-)