Why I Appreciate Growing Up in a Small Town

I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. I hated it. I only viewed high school as a way to get into a “prestigious” college, so that I could leave only to never return.

Now that I’ve been gone for two and a half years, I really appreciate certain aspects of where I grew up.

When I left and moved to Boston, I was taken aback by the increased level of materialism amongst my peers.

I’m not saying that my peers in Boston are materialistic, but I’ve found that my peers in Pennsylvania just weren’t; the closest shopping mall was a 40-minute drive away and didn’t really even have that many stores.

School just couldn’t be a fashion show like it can be in Boston.

Because I grew up like that, I don’t care about clothes or even really try to look my best all the time. To each their own, but looking back, that’s an aspect that I really appreciate about where I grew up.

Also, being from a small town means that I was used to wide open spaces. The population density of where I grew up is 13x less than that of Boston. This is specifically evidenced when I’m trying to take the T on a rainy day.

Yet, I was alone for 4 hours yesterday, and I don’t remember that last time that I’d been alone for so long. Four hours (!!!)

In Pennsylvania, I’d be the only person driving on certain roads, I can regularly go into certain coffee shops and be the only person there, and (what I miss most) I could have an entire gym to myself (If I go at the right time).

In small towns, there’s a familiarity that comes with almost everything. You know most everyone at the grocery store, and everyone knows what everyone’s up to at almost all times.

At the Trader Joes on Boylston, no one knows me! I appreciate the anonymity, but sometimes it occurs to me that I can’t go anywhere at home without seeing someone that I know.

While I’m glad that I moved to Boston, I never thought that I would miss certain aspects of the town that I grew up in. Or, that I would be ecstatic to be going home in 2 days. Just click your heels together 3 times, and you’ll be back!


Cover photo credit: Flickr, Diana Robinson


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