Big Cities Small Towns

For 20 years, give or take the time I was living at college, I lived in a town with about 800 other people. My dad was the pastor of one of the four churches, and everyone knew it. My brothers and I couldn’t even throw snow balls at passing cars without the driver knowing exactly who it was and exactly who the parents were, and proceeding to call said parents (that only happened once, I think…).
All through high school, I dreamed of living in New York City. I thought it would be an amazing place to live. I thought about all the coffee shops and bookstores and libraries, and picnics in the park. I wanted to be an editor, and there are plenty of opportunities for that in NYC. I love musicals and wanted to be near Broadway.
Then I realized how expensive that would be. Then I moved to St. Louis and realized I don’t actually like city life. At all. Granted, St. Louis and New York City are very difficult to compare, but I can’t imagine I’d actually enjoy living in the Big Apple.
Part of the issue for high school me was that I watched Gossip Girl and thought that’s what life would be like for anyone who moved to NYC.
When I visited New York City for the first time when I was 20, I fell in love. It is an incredible place to be, even for the handful of days that I was there. So admitting to myself that I wouldn’t enjoy life in the city was difficult, and I struggled to figure out why. How could I love a city so much, but know deep down that I would hate living there?
This is what I’ve discovered.
Growing up in a small town was a great experience. There were days I didn’t like it so much, but now, I look back and know that I had it good. I could stay out until it got dark, and after a certain age, it didn’t matter if it was dark, I could stay out as long as my parents knew where I was. I never ever worried about walking anywhere by myself, and I frequently did. I walked to the library, to the pool, to school, I walked/ran/biked the trail all around town, and I was never afraid to be alone, even after dark. Here, I’m not even comfortable walking around the seminary campus by myself after dark!
Even though we had to drive 45 minutes to get to Walmart, it was 45 minutes on a highway, with no traffic lights and no traffic. Here, to get to Walmart, it takes about the same time, just because of all the red lights and traffic, and it’s less than 10 miles away!
When I was growing up, it was a treat to spend the day shopping. Even just going to Walmart was exciting because you only went a few times a month. Now, shopping is more of a chore, and it’s so easily accessible that it’s not that exciting or fun. It’s a “been there done that” kind of thing.
I like small town life. It’s much simpler, much more care-free, much more pleasant, much cheaper. Even contacts are more expensive in the city!
Traveling to cities is such a fun time. Like I said, I loved visiting NYC. But part of the appeal for me is knowing that I get to go back home to my quiet life. No one in the city knew me, and I’d probably never see most of the people I encountered again, which was fun and exciting. But sometimes (most of the time, actually), I wanna go where everybody knows my name.

Image taken from crazy4fiction. “Are you Small Town or Big City?”

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