It’s interesting how many different factors can nurture growth. It’s something that can occur fast or slow, when you’re young or old, painfully or smoothly.. but everyone has their own growth story. Luckily, your growth can be as a result of someone else’s doing or advice. I mention this because that’s exactly what springloaded me to where I am today.
Growing up in a small town, there were plenty of opportunities to grow and to cherish the community appeal of it all. This could be little league sports to Boy Scouts to our local parades; It was beautiful. Yet, there were two very great growing opportunities that came as a result.
First, there wasn’t very many big world, culturally diverse challenges present. Small towns take on their very own little society and growing up, you don’t really see much beyond those borders. Through my travels, I have noticed a similar theme across many small towns. Now, this isn’t a bad thing! Many people strive to escape the bustling pace of this ever speedy world. This fast pace typically appeals to younger people who are born in these rural settings.. small town life tends to be too slow. Many youth desire a little more spice for their most vibrant years. Young adults are presented with the power of choice; do I continue this lifestyle or do I leave my comfort zone and sample something different?
Growing as a result of your environment, I believe doesn’t provide nearly as much of a lesson as the people within that environment. Small towns are fantastic for that! You basically know everyone because you have countless opportunities to see and interact with the same people repeatedly. In contrast, life in New York City for example, presents the opportunity to see different people everyday and depending on where you are, rarely seeing the same person twice.
Getting to know the folks in your town can be a very powerful experience. Get to know their interests, and as you get older, their goals they accomplished and the ones they didn’t.
Having an intimate understanding of the lives of older people, regardless of their age, provided me with some of the best life lessons in my teens. There is so much value in what these people have to say! Their successes can provide assurance that you too can achieve such results if you work just as or harder than they did. However, I believe their unfulfilled dreams may carry more motivational weight. “I always wanted to travel to..” or “My dream was to always be a dancer” or “I used to envision myself leading a nonprofit”… All phrases followed up with some version of “but life got in the way”.
Of course there are some things that happen in our lives that deem it very difficult or near impossible to fulfill those dreams we once had. Other times it boils down to choice and where our priorities lie. Regardless of the reason for such outcomes, it (at least for myself) has been a great motivator to live a life with very few, if any, “I wish I had(s)”…
Flashback to highschool. I cherish my time there not only for the things I had accomplished but very much for my “I wish I hads”. This very experience as a whole lit a fire under me and as I was propelled myself through my college career, I took on more and more challenges along the way. Life events and certain experiences have reminded me not to take life for granted
I graduated high school in 2010 and I graduated college in 2014. Both of which were located in areas without substantial populations. I recently turned
25 27 and if I’ve learned anything of value, it’s that the most growth you can achieve is located outside of your comfort zone. Try new experiences. Really get to know someone new. Open your mind, your heart, and your world. Who knows, after a lifetime of learning, you and I may find out that a small town is perfect for us.