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12 Things Only People Who’ve Ever Lived In Small Towns Would Understand

12 Things Only People Who’ve Ever Lived In Small Towns Would Understand

City dwellers often complain about their metropolitan lifestyles: The roads are too crowded, the apartments are too expensive, and the green spaces are few and far between. At some point, most urbanites daydream about moving to a small town — but if they ever do, they are in for a huge surprise. People from small towns know all too well that tight-knit communities come with their own unique set of problems that city dwellers will never be prepared for. Here are 12 problems small town people are too familiar with.

1. You Know Everyone Around

In a small town, you get to know your neighbors on an intimate level. Even in a town of a few thousand, it isn’t hard to recognize nearly everyone by face, if not by name and favorite ice cream flavor. You get used to being friendly with those around you.

2. So Smiling and Waving Becomes a Habit

You probably don’t notice how frequently you smile, wave, and make eye contact until you move out of your town and into the city. City-dwelling strangers are more often put off by your friendly behavior than enchanted by it, and you likely receive plenty of confused expressions — as well as some downright irritated responses.

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3. You Never Meet Anyone From Home

When you finally venture outside your town, you should expect hundreds of questions about where you are from. Inevitably, when you answer, you will get hundreds of blank stares. No one knows about your small town, and you just have to get used to it.

4. Except the Super Weird Times You Do

Still, every once in a while you will meet one person who knows about your small town. Usually, that person grew up in some town or city nearby, but you might even encounter the only other person from your small town to escape. It will feel surprising and strange at first, but you should embrace that person as friend and confidante.

5. You Never Have Anywhere to Go

Small towns usually aren’t known for their active nightlife. When you grow up in a small town, you get used to the fact that there are no sensible places for young people to congregate besides home and school.

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6. So Going Out Becomes a Beloved Pastime

Fortunately, there are miles of empty roads just waiting to be explored. In a big city, driving around aimlessly is equal parts boring and dangerous, but in small towns, joyrides are perhaps the most thrilling nighttime activity there is to enjoy. You roll down the windows, turn up the tunes, and drive.

7. You Don’t Know About Chain Stores

You are more often than not confused by the frequent news stories anticipating the death of the small business, because small business is basically all you have. Everything from the hardware store to the grocery store (the only two stores in town, really) is owned locally; your shopping opportunities are so limited that most newcomers have to transfer credit cards because shops don’t accept every type.

8. Until One Invades the Town and Causes Equal Amounts of Excitement and Distress

You remember the day Chipotle came to your town. There were lines down the block for weeks. Then all the small business owners in town agonized over the safety of their shops and restaurants, and the hubbub died down.

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9. You Never Escape Past Relationships

It seems that everyone knows when you are dating, but everyone has an outrageously hard time remembering that you broke up. You will forever get questions regarding past partners, and worse, you will regularly see those partners everywhere you go. Closure is particularly hard to attain in such close quarters.

10. And Dating Your Ex’s Friend or Your Friend’s Ex Is the Only Option

Your high school graduating class was fewer than 100 people, which means you were fishing in a disturbingly small pond. Any potential partner you seek within town is going to have close connections with your ex, whether you like it or not. In small towns, the bro code does not apply.

11. You Always Dream of Moving Away

You habitually count down the years (and months, weeks, days, and minutes) until you are a full-fledged adult, free to fly to the big city of your choosing. You will live in a sophisticated area, visit cosmopolitan places, and meet exciting people. You hate your small town so much it hurts.

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12. Until You Finally Do And You Miss Your Town Terribly

Yet, it hurts to leave, too. The big city certainly does offer more opportunity to learn and grow, but your small town is home, and it always will be.

Featured photo credit: Kecko via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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