“Get Out of There”

One of my very best friends is getting married in the fall of 2018. Yesterday she asked me to be a bridesmaid. Obviously I said yes.

Aubrey and I have known each other since we were 10. That’s sixteen years of history, friendship, arguments, changes, and celebrations. Another best friend, Kayla, is also a bridesmaid. Similar to Aubrey and I, she grew up locally and we’ve had some sort of acquaintanceship or friendship since middle school.

Both Kayla and Aubrey have moved away, found good jobs, and settled in. I, on the other hand, stayed in the same small town we all once called “home.” Per Google Maps, I live 3.8 miles from my childhood home, half a mile from my elementary school, half a mile (the other direction) from my high school, and roughly 0.5 to 5 miles from all my local relatives. Needless to say, it’s a smallish town.

It’s also one of those towns that high school seniors and young adults are always trying to “get away” from. If you don’t move away and travel the world or get a studio apartment in a real city then you might as well get married, pop out a few babies, and settle.

(That’s not my opinion. That’s the general vibe around here.)

Recently I saw a conversation on Facebook between two high school acquaintance…
Person 1: We’re moving! We’ll be living in XYZ, Ohio after this weekend.
Person 2 (who now lives in a major city): Good for you! Get out of there!

I know it should’ve have, but her comment made my blood boil. It made me feel like staying here is wrong.

Like it’s a trap. Or a prison. Or some sh!thole.

I like to think that I’m not easily swayed or influenced by others, but I KNOW there is a small town mentality of ‘staying here = failure.’

But honestly- what a load of bullshit.

If marriage and babies in a safe, small town is your prerogative then you’re in the right place. If building an international company is on your to-do list then you’ve found the perfect location. If you’re a world traveler who needs some roots in a busy yet slow community then plant them right here.

And if you feel like you need more miles to stretch your wings or some distance between your past and your present or you just want to try out a new place, then I think that’s great! But don’t you dare look down your nose at someone else for sticking around the place they call “home.”

For a while I really believed K and I would leave. (I suppose there’s still time but 1. the business is located here and 2. I’m happy here.) I’m a huge fan of travel and receiving a worldly education- but I need a stable home to return to. I think it’s 100% ok to dig your roots into a place like this.

For the record, neither of my best friends nor my brother have ever made me feel badly for any of my choices. I think they’re just happy to have a place to hangout when they come “home.”

I know that was a little rant-y, but that Facebook transaction sparked something inside me. I respect your decision to leave so I expect the same when it comes to staying.

My Hometown: Tell Me Something Good

Just in case you missed the memo: Today is Friday! Yippee!! I haven’t linked-up with Chelsea in a while so today I’m jumping on the “Tell Me Something Good” Train and talking about my town! (I was a little inspired by Steph’s post last week.)

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Maybe all towns are like this… but when I was in school all my classmates were hell bent on “getting out of this place.” I started dating K when I was 17, but I still thought we’d both leave my little town and settle in Pittsburgh or Nashville. (I don’t know why I thought it’d be either of those two cities, but I did.) In the summer of 2012, right before my college graduation and less than a year before our wedding, K decided to start a business. And that pretty much sealed our fate in this small town.

We’ve joked about moving to Texas (K’s market is really strong there & being in the “center” of the US would be beneficial), but that’s not going to happen because A) I love snow and B) I love snow. So here we stay.

At one point in life I thought that this might mean that I failed; I’d failed to see the world & escape my hometown. I have high school friends in Cleveland and Columbus, college friends that now live in Arizona and Japan, and my brother is getting ready to permanently settle a few hours away… but I left for three and a half years of college and came right back here. ‘How pathetic,’ I once told myself.

But I was oh so wrong. Deep down, I’m a big fan of this small town I grew up in.

  • We have a delicious coffee shop that resides in our cute little downtown square.
  • I never feared for my safety in my small high school.
  • Our local park offers ball fields and summer rides and fireworks.
  • I pass “first date” locations and my teenage hangouts all the time- and it brings back a lot of good memories.
  • I can drive by my childhood house when I’m feeling nostalgic.
  • My parents and K’s parents are less than 10 minutes from us. Same with all our grandparents.
  • While we’re a fairly small town, we do have a lot of big businesses- and it’s a painless drive to get to larger neighboring cities.
  • When our out-of-town friends visit their families “back home”, they call us up and we get to see them.
  • From our house I can walk to my job, K’s business, the local high school, or the park- in under 15 minutes.
  • The housing market is inexpensive.

And of course we can always leave and travel and visit others… and we get to come right back to our little community. It’s a peaceful place. We don’t have public transportation. We’re 20 minutes from the cute little Amish towns. And there’s plenty of grass for our dogs. You don’t always get that in a big city.

If K woke up tomorrow and said, “Let’s move!” I’d probably be on board, but if the furthest move we ever make is from in town to the countryside out of town, I’ll be happy, too. And I think it’s good to be at peace with that 🙂

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Linking up with Chelsea for “Tell Me Something Good!”

Tell Me Something Good Friday!

That Secret Place

I had no inspiration for this post until I went there- that secret place. I like to think everyone has one… a place where you go to disappear for a few minutes or hours. A place where you go to collect your thoughts or erase your anxieties or bask in a moment of gratitude. A place that might be public- like a park or church- but a place where you can be alone with your thoughts. I like to think that everyone’s got a place. And if you don’t, I really encourage you to find one.

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I’m going to keep my place on the hush for now, but I’ll tell you about my spot when I was younger. Maybe it will inspire you to find a secret.

Like most children/pre-teens, I couldn’t drive. Perhaps unlike most children/pre-teens, I was filled with frustration and anger and doubt. I’m wired to worry and when I was a kid it sometimes consumed me. Our house was half a mile from the county’s career center. This building offers adults & high school kids technical career training. They also have a pre-school facility. When the world had me feeling down, and pre-school was not in session, I would walk to the center, hop the short playground fence, and sit in the slide. Sometimes I prayed, sometimes I read, & sometimes I simply sat.

Does that sound emo, or what?

My new spot is utilized under less depressing circumstances. I mean, I still go there when I’m upset and I want to be alone, but I also visit my place to soak in the weather or reflect or chat with God. Or just sit.

I don’t mean to be vague… I leave my phone in the car when I go so I don’t have any pictures and if I tell you where the spot is it’s not like you’re going to suddenly visualize it (…unless you’re a friend/family member reading this). Next time I’ll snap some pics and share them with you.

So tell me, do you have a secret spot where you find solace and comfort? You don’t have to tell me where- I don’t think K even knows I go unwind at this spot. Have I inspired you to go spot-hunting if you don’t already have one?

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