I was thinking (and that will quite often lead to a blog post, or at least some scribbles in one of my various notebooks–haha!)…
Some people are just meant for a quiet life in a quiet place.
I am not one of those kinds of people. I grew up in that kind of place. Very little crime… you can leave your purse in your car, doors unlocked, windows down while you run into the gas station or store with no fear of any of your belongings being stolen. Everyone knows pretty much everyone, or at least someone who knows them if you don’t know them personally. 🙂 The nearest movie theater is a 30 minute drive. The nearest mall is about a 45 minute drive, and it isn’t even much. High school parties happen in cow fields around a giant bonfire, drinking Boone’s Farm and Miller Lite. And your parents pretty much always find out, because everyone finds out everything. And it truly is beautifully peaceful.
I grew up there, and will always have a place for it in my heart. It feels good to go back and feel that comfort from time to time. But it isn’t the only place that feels comfortable for me. I’m more comfortable, more “at home”, in a place with more options… more people… things to do and different kinds of adventures to be had. If I don’t have those things, I begin to feel stifled. I don’t want to be changing locations every few years or anything–living like a fugitive–but it makes my skin crawl if I see the same 10 blocks, or same local faces for too long. For me, the world is too big for that.
There was a time, when I was young, that I thought anybody who wanted to stay in that town must be crazy. Or terrified of living life. But neither of those things are true. Sure, some people might want to leave, but are indeed scared of the change. And some might just not know any better. But for the most part people who stay there, are simply happy there. They thrive on familiarity, and that peaceful small-town environment. It fills their souls, so who was I (or anyone else) to think they are crazy for wanting that?
The same thing goes for people who want to explore further, and venture out into the unknown. I’ve heard comments from some people from my home town, or other small home towns across the country, who believe people who want to get out think they are somehow superior. For some, that is probably the case. But the same way that small town souls get fulfillment from their quiet, the more adventurous type gets fulfillment from brand new experiences and interactions.
(I emphasize “some” people from small towns, because I think that most people who truly enjoy their peaceful, small town life really don’t think about it too much. 🙂 They couldn’t care less what other people are doing, and that is why they are happy where they are. That is a truly peaceful country person, if you ask me.)
It’s just another one of those things that continues to amaze me about life… about people. It really takes all different types. My dad is a country kind of guy if ever there was one. He hates crowds of people. He hates traffic. He doesn’t care to go make new friends and meet a bunch of new people. I, on the other hand, love meeting new acquaintances and friends. Driving in the city makes me happy. Skylines are as gorgeous to me as a mountain range. It takes all kinds.
I look at my graduating class and I see a group of 80 or so people, who pretty much grew up together. The majority of our parents were raised in that town. A lot of our grandparents were raised in that town. We had similar experiences. Then life opened up, and we all went so many different ways.
Some people’s lives led them to raise their very own children in that town. Others have families in other places. Some left and came back, after figuring out that they are happier there. Some of us left and won’t ever return. Life can just lead you in so many directions. Mine could have easily led me to stay there like some of my classmates… had I made different choices… or stayed in certain relationships… the difference is that I wouldn’t have been happy. But I can appreciate that they are happy there.
At the end of the day, I am glad that so many still love that little town. And I wouldn’t mind having a little vacation cabin on a lake nearby some day. 🙂