By Sandy Bauer
“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” – Unknown Author
In the last couple of months my idea of how my life plan is supposed to go has changed in every way possible. I went from having a definite plan of sticking to the one job and going away in October to study, however a few minor ‘things’ fast tracked my so called life plans.
Fast forward – I went from living on a station to living in town within a week. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of living in a small town with a large supportive community, but the differences to station life are massive and I have had to learn a variety of new ways and skills. I still have a definite plan of studying to do my equine bodyworker certification in October, and that one is set in cement!
Within two days of searching, I was lucky enough to find a 3 bedroom house in town for $200 a week, an amount that I’ve never had to pay before. The usual station living fee is about $6 keep per day. The number one skill I have learnt since moving to town has been budgeting, it’s one of those adult tasks when you grow up that really makes you wish you weren’t at the ‘adult’ level yet.
Within the budgeting topic also comes the price of food. To live in town and just feed myself for about one-and-a-half weeks it costs approximately $100-$150. Most – mainly companies and some private places – have a food budget where they have a set amount of money aside to buy their workers the necessary food such as milk, butter, bread, cheese, sausages, fruit and veggies. Along with a lot of places having their own veggie gardens to cut costs – I will be making one in the near future!
I was lucky enough when moving into town that a family that I met when I was doing ‘School of the Air’ allowed me to agist my horses on their block. With the payment of checking a few fences and making sure the troughs are full 24/7. For that I am very grateful, the normal cost of keeping a horse in town is practically an arm and a leg for boarding – and then imagine the feed bill! This is compared to stations,, which usually allow their workers to have anywhere from one-to-four of their own private horses (varies for places) and they just live in the paddock and eat grass at little to no cost to the owner. Lucky for me, my current cost is a bit of horse feed and the essentials for keeping a dog in town, which equates to about $50 a month with the additional $40 council registration per dog. Something else you wouldn’t normally have to pay on a station!
Moving to town also comes with learning new skills, which in this case was my whole point of moving to town! I wanted to learn something new other than the general station hand duties. I want to be able to vary what I know and my skill levels, then incorporate it all into one job.
Currently my two jobs are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I work at the local service station. The jobs here really vary from cooking, cleaning, making coffee, serving customers and handling money. All skills that one day I can put back into station work, be it office administration or cooking.
My second job is as a Teacher’s Aide on Wednesday and Friday, although sometimes I fill in for a full week! This job is challenging but it’s something I really enjoy. The jobs vary from teaching the students, preparing work, helping them to complete their work, getting to know each kid and their personalities, fine tuning their skills and helping them to understand the correct behaviour to become better adults in the future. This job is perfect for sharpening my skill development, learning to become a leader and helping to develop the learning and thinking habits of young students.
Even though moving to town has plenty of ups and downs, like the new environment, more money spent, a large empty house and making new friends, it’s slowly growing on me. It is nice to remind yourself daily of the advantages that employees who work in the rural industry actually receive. They are the small things that quite often happen without you actually realising how lucky you really are!