Why I Loved Growing Up in a Small Town

Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed my time away from my little town in the U.P. since moving away to college, but not as much as I had originally thought. All the things I thought I wouldn’t miss I actually missed every single day. I wish I wouldn’t have spent my entire senior year wishing time would speed up so I could finally move out of my “boring small town.” Moving away to college actually made me realize everything I took for granted growing up in a small town and made me appreciate being able to experience something that a good majority of the population doesn’t get to experience. Here are a few reasons why I loved growing up in a small town:

You Always Feel Safe

Small, isolated towns are really safe, obviously because not that many people live there. My friends and I spent most of our summer nights walking or driving around downtown until 2AM and never questioned our safety. We left our cars and doors unlocked when we left with no second thought. It wasn’t until I got to college and my roomates starting questioning why I never locked the dorm door that I realized that was not a normal habit for the rest of the world.

You Know Everyone

The whole town knows each other, literally, which has its downfalls, but also has more perks than you’d think. You can’t leave your house without seeing someone you know. You constantly have people watching out for you (in a good way) and there’s a good chance your parents are probably friends with your teachers, your dentist, and your coaches. Being in the newspaper meant you were a local celebrity. I graduated with 130 kids, and I could name them all. I loved walking down the hallways and saying hello to EVERY person that passed by because everyone is friends with each other. That being said, coming to a college with 25,000 people felt very lonely at first and took some getting used to.

The Outdoors

My favorite part about growing up in a small town was the ability to hike, bike, kayak, paddle board, and explore the woods at any time. City kids just don’t understand what it’s like to have access to these sorts of things whenever you want. I grew up on the water and I am thankful for that every day of my life. I have so many memories fishing, tubing, kayaking, and swimming and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. There’s a hiking trail right in my backyard, that is fun to explore in both the summer and the winter. Although our summers are short up in the U.P. my friends and I spent every day we could outside, soaking up our small town. A nice day meant all your neighbors were out in their yards. I am so happy that when I look back on my childhood these are the memories I have - being outdoors.

There’s Nothing To Do

I mean this in a good way. My friends and I had to make our own fun and find joy in the little things. The highlight of our week was the Friday night football games or the summer bonfires.  Living in a small town taught me to be content with simplicity. I gained appreciation for the moments that were easy and uncomplicated. It sounds cheesy but growing up in a small town truly shaped me into the person I am today, I have learned to be happy without material things. I have learned to be happy about small things, and best of all I have crazy stories to tell about the kinds of things me and my friends found to do for fun.  

I Learned to be an Individual

Like I said before, every one knows who you are. You can’t go anywhere without seeing people you know, and you never felt like someone in the crowd. That being said, you had to learn very quickly that there were always eyes on you and had to watch how you were presenting yourself at all times. I felt like I matured much more quickly because of this. The whole town knew what sports teams you were on, who you were friends with, and what kind of student you were. So you had a certain image and individuality about you from a very young age.

I Always Have a Place to Call Home

After living in a small town my entire life, getting out for a little bit was much needed. I have been able to learn a lot about other cultures and ways of life while I have been away at college. I have been able to look at the world in a whole different light than I ever did before in my home-town. I’m not sure where I’ll end up in the future, but it’s nice to know that I always have my small town in the U.P. to return to whenever I am ready. I know my town will always be a welcoming and accepting place for me. Life has thrown so many changes in my direction, and I know there is only more to come, but it is a very reassuring feeling knowing I always have somewhere to call home.