I grew up in a pretty small town. When I was young, I remember feeling a bit suffocated by the mundane normalcy of the way life was lived. We called it the bubble; everyone you met was either related to you, knew you from childhood or knew your family. So, as soon as I turned 18, I was ready to burst that bubble and get the heck outa dodge. I spent 8 years after that in Nashville, a big city to me, but not big enough that I felt lost. In fact, I felt right at home. The bars, musicians, faster paced life and air of mystery and possibility lured me in from the moment I stepped foot onto the Country music hometown soil. I was completely enamored with the glitz and glamor that my girlfriends and I constantly found ourselves a part of. Big concerts, front row seats to games, festivals, celebrity sightings or friendships and big crazy relationships both good and bad. We had an adventure (whether it was planned or not) every weekend. It was the perfect place to be as a 20-somthing and I learned more lessons in the 8 years that I spent there, than I could have possibly ever learned in my small town.
Fast forward four years later. I find myself back in that small town. After the glory days of my Nash lifestyle, I find myself wanting to slow down a bit. Not entirely—I’ll never lose my wanderlust attitude and desire for adventure, but I wanted less of the trendy (and the traffic) and more of the things that feed my soul. Obviously, I attribute this to growing up, but the glam bar scene no longer attracted my attention. Now my thoughts and wants grew to a picnic in the park, a long walk with my dog and a solid place that I could (one of these days) possibly raise a family. Now, the small town that I could not wait to get away from, didn’t look so bad after all. Owning a home, having a back yard, being near my family, these all became things that when my mind wandered, that’s where it went.
I truly hated that I felt this way at first. I felt like a sellout.
“This town that you loathed, the want of more for yourself, the love of the bright lights of a big city, you’re going to abandon all of it, just to go back?”
I wrestled with this exact voice in my head over and over again for a solid year and a half. But then, there was a moment that changed me. It was last fall, just after I had bought my house. This was a huge accomplishment and goal achieved for me, but I was still struggling with the location.
“I wish I could just pick up this adorable ginger bread looking house, with a big back yard, that I could afford, and move it to downtown Nashville.”
This thought was still swirling in my head as I took my dog for a walk through the park. It was a little after dusk on a chilly fall day as we winded through our little neighborhood. I looked up at one point during our walk trying to force myself out of my own head and the scene before me was incredible. The street lights were casting a golden glow on the gorgeous old houses and beautiful giant oak trees that lined our path. There was the beginnings of a full moon and the stars had just started to shimmer and shine. There were no big city lights or tall buildings disrupting my view of the sky, no cars or people whizzing past in a hurry, no fear of walking by myself at night.
It was peaceful. The birds were singing their lullaby, the squirrels were scurrying around with acorns, and there was a silence that I had never stopped to notice before. It was at that moment that I understood why this small town was calling to me. It was urging me to stop and notice the small things that my hustle and bustle lifestyle had hindered me from.
I came home that night to my family who had stopped by to say hi. We sat in my cozy living room, around a fire, talking and laughing as the sounds of the high school football game were heard outside. The things that I felt suffocated by as a teen, now seemed comforting and friendly. I was able to look past the things that originally irritated me about living in a small town and appreciate them for what they brought to life.
That night, I chose to embrace the small town life. I may not always love it and it may drive me crazy sometimes, but it has awakened my soul.
Lucky for me, I have an awesome big city five minutes away. So when the mundane normalcy becomes a bit too much, I can easily reawaken that 20-something big city girl. But in the mean time, my precious small town, I will stick with you.