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7 Things Only People Who’ve Lived In A Small Town Can Relate To

7 Things Only People Who’ve Lived In A Small Town Can Relate To

When I enrolled in Spelman College in Atlanta for a pre-college summer program, I asked my roommate where she grew up. Her answer was Houston, Texas. I asked her what her parents did for a living and she said her dad was an astronaut. Imagine how I, a country girl from rural Alabama, felt. Since peanut and cotton farming were two of the biggest occupations in the region, I was shocked to room with a person whose dad was a Commander for NASA’s Hubble Space Mission.

Although the limitations of growing up in a small town (especially pre-Internet) are numerous, the benefits still abound. Nothing beats the quaint small-town life and the lasting memories that remind its residents of simpler times. Whether you grew up in a small town or are thinking of moving to one, you are in for a special treat. Join me on a nostalgic journey of small-town life as you read about these 7 things that only small-town people can relate to.

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1. You graduate high school with the same people who were in your kindergarten class.

Many of the schools in a small town feed into a single high school. If a town is small enough, the same cohort of students might start and finish elementary, middle, and high school together. This gives kids the opportunity to create strong bonds with other kids during every stage of their childhood development. Be prepared, however, for messy breakups, ever-changing friendships, and rampant small-town rumors. After all, you have to infuse excitement into the small-town way of life somehow!

2. You join the high school marching band when you’re in the 7th grade.

Resources are common concerns in small towns. Although the marching band is one example, you will find that students in small towns have opportunities to engage in many activities earlier than kids in larger cities. Are you missing a bass drummer for the high school band? Do you need a fourth member for the track team’s relay team? Recruit from the middle school. Kids in small towns grow up fast — not in a negative way, but because bodies are needed to execute activities. By graduation, students can be politicians, musicians, athletes, or public speakers, and all of these experiences will prepare them for almost everything.

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3. You lack accessibility to resources past 10 pm.

Small-town residents prepare themselves to do everything outside of their homes before 10 in the evening. Most local small-town businesses operate during 9-to-5 hours, so local residents have to know exactly what they need to accomplish during those hours. A bright aspect of this is that the one fast food restaurant and convenience store are always open for business to satisfy your late-night french fry and beef jerky cravings.

4. You can’t do anything wrong because people know your parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles — even your dog.

People in small towns learn to live squeaky clean lives because they know that any negative things they do will be the subject of conversation among all the local community groups. Engaging in bad behaviors extends beyond an alleged perpetrator, because the relatives of this person are affected immediately by the accusation. Small-town life teaches one how to be discreet, how to filter information, and how to develop a thick skin — since there is no way to escape the glaring eyes and opinions of members of the local community.

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5. You can take care of your professional business at local sporting events.

Small-town life centers around sporting events. The heart of many communities involves supporting local talent as students offer the best, cheapest, and sometimes the only entertainment that a small town has to offer. At a game, you can see your banker, your beautician, and the high school principal. Where else could you learn about current loan interest rates, receive updates about your child’s academic progress, and cheer for your favorite sports team?

6. You don’t worry about rush-hour traffic.

Leave work at 5 pm and you will be at home at 5:10 pm. You have time to exercise, prep dinner, and read a book before the local news come on. If you think that this quick small-town commute sounds boring, think again! The time that you save not driving will add much to your overall quality of life and to your relationships with friends and family.

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7. You don’t need the local newspaper to get the news.

Those of us who grew up in small towns know that before social media and the internet, small town criers provided people with current events and gossip before it became official. To this day, if someone in a small town dies overnight, the word is out via telephone or text before daybreak. Another small-town benefit is knowing the behind-the-scenes details about everything that is reported cryptically by the media. Anonymous small-town sources will always be the original TMZ.

In the end, although there are numerous benefits of big-city life and access to diverse resources, small-town life definitely has its perks.

Featured photo credit: Girl with Flowers/Alexander Shustov via images.unsplash.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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