Maine’s unofficial motto — “the way life should be” — is shorthand for a life in which your neighbors care about you, and you wake up to the sound of birds chirping. Even a short stint in our state changes how you see life and how you want to live. Here are some side effects of living in Maine that change the way you experience the world.

1. You get used to the quiet roar of the ocean lulling you to sleep every night.

A white-noise machine is not the same. If you live by the coast, you get used to Mother Nature providing your sleep soundtrack. You become a light sleeper because you never have to sleep through the noise of traffic or sirens in Maine.

2. And you get used to waking up every morning to the sound of birds chirping.

It feels like you are waking up inside a Disney movie. It is the most peaceful way to start your day. It gets you excited about life. It is a rude awakening when you leave Maine and are woken up by noisy neighbors.

3. You can identify a wide variety of nature sounds.

You know the sound of a loon call. You can tell the difference between a crash of thunder and a tree branch breaking and falling to the ground. Frogs croaking in the night can’t be confused with crickets chirping. And you hate the obnoxious sound of seagulls.

4. You can taste the difference between freshly caught and frozen seafood.

Your taste buds demand only the freshest seafood. You reject lobster rolls at even the most popular places out of state because you can tell that the lobster was frozen. Your non-Mainer friends think you are crazy, but you know better.

5. Your Maine accent sneaks out whenever you watch sports, or after a few drinks.

Sometimes you just can’t seem to pronounce your R’s. Even though you spent years actively trying to ditch your Maine accent, it sometimes slips out. Usually it happens after a few beers or during a Red Sox game. No matter how hard you try, reading the lineup of a New England sports team without a Maine accent proves to be impossible.

6. You fear the bite of the greenhead flies.

You know that being woken up from a blissful beach nap by the sharp pain of a greenhead bite is the worst, so you know to cover up if you want an undisturbed beach nap.

7. You bring sunscreen and bug spray everywhere in the summer.

You always need one or the other — if not both. Sunscreen is a must during the day, and at night, you need to protect yourself from the no-see-ums.

8. You bring a sweater everywhere, too.

You can’t really trust Maine weather since it changes so rapidly. You know that just because it is 80 degrees right now, that doesn’t mean that it won’t cool down to 60 degrees later. Even when the weather forecast looks promising, you can’t leave home without at least another layer — just in case.

9. You know how to prepare for days-long power outages.

You dread those massive winter storms that knock the power out for days, but you know how to prepare. You buy groceries, charge up all your devices, prepare the firewood, plan meals to cook over the fire, and have a plan to head to a friend’s house if the power takes too long to come back on.

10. You make detailed and comprehensive grocery lists.

When you go out of your way to go to the grocery store in town, you don’t want to forget anything. You have developed a system for keeping an accurate grocery list and making sure that you don’t forget anything. You have a grocery list in your kitchen at all times and everyone you live with knows that the only way to get the food they want is to add it to the list.

11. You have a desire to shop at Reny’s.

When you need something random, you think of going to Reny’s before you think of buying it online. Why would you shop online when you can go on “a Maine adventure” at Reny’s? Where else can you get sparklers, bicycles, shoes, and beef jerky? You always leave Reny’s with more than you planned on purchasing.

12. You are committed to being kind to your neighbors and contributing to the community.

You know all your neighbors by name, and you don’t mind helping them with minor chores. You get involved with community organizations and participate in local activities. You know that it’s the people that make Maine special, and you want to do your part.

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