One thing that many people don’t know about me, and might not guess, is that I grew up in a small town. Like, really small. The population of the tiny town in Wisconsin where I grew up is approximately 1,000. That’s right. 1,000 people. Though I was born in Milwaukee, I spent ages 5-18 in this crazy small town. I went to school there, I had my first job there, I made some of my closest friends there. And the experiences I had growing up in that small town are ones that I wouldn’t trade for the world! If you grew up in a similarly small town, you know what I mean. Today, I wanted to talk a little about the town I grew up in. I know I’m missing so many things, and maybe I’ll do a Part Two, but here are 12 perks for growing up in a small town.
1. You always feel safe. Though I don’t necessarily feel in danger where I live now, it doesn’t feel nearly as safe as the small town I grew up in. We can leave the door unlocked and the ground floor windows open without fearing an intruder. We left our cars unlocked. Heck, in high school I would leave my car unlocked with the keys in the car. The crime in town was minimal and my mom never had to worry about us walking home from school alone.
2. There’s more freedom. Because the town I grew up in was so safe, my brother and I had a lot of freedom. As long as we came home when we were supposed to, my mom trusted us when we were hanging out with friends, going to a party, etc.
3. You can do anything you want. If you want to play a sport, you’re on the team. There’s no “trying out” because everyone makes the team! Had I gone to a huge school like the one 30 minutes down the road, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to play on the soccer team or join the dance team with zero dance experience. High school sports were also awesome because half the town was at every sporting event.
4. You’re well-rounded. Not only was I able to be a member of any sports team I wanted, it was easy to do a lot of school activities. I played sports, played in the high school band, participated in musicals, and a whole lot of other stuff. And because it’s a small town, I had friends who also did all of those activities.
5. You can get anywhere faster. If you need to drive 10 miles in a small rural town, it takes 10 minutes. If I need to drive 10 miles in the city I currently live in, I’m looking at a good half hour. The entire town I lived in was just a few blocks long, and most of my friends lived out in the country surrounding the town. Zero traffic. Zero cops. Zero red lights. We literally did not have a traffic light in my town.
6. It’s easy to support local business. Because every business is local. We had one Subway in town, and that was it for chain businesses! All the other restaurants, bars, stores, etc. were completely local companies!
7. You went to school with the same kids your whole life. That’s because every grade, Kindergarten through high school seniors, went to school in the same building. That meant every year you got to have classes with your friends, and their lockers were right down the hall from you.
8. Everything is cheaper. If Dave and I were to move to my hometown and rent an apartment just like the one we live in now, it would be like half the price.
9. You learn how to create your own fun. There wasn’t a lot to do in my town. At all. There was one bowling alley slightly outside of town. The closest movie theater was a town over. There was no mall. There weren’t even any stores that sold clothing. So we had to learn to get really creative when it came to having fun with friends. Parties usually take place in a barn or a field.
10. The best beaches are all within biking distance. Obviously the world was immensely easier sophomore year when everyone got their driver’s license and most of your friends had cars. But until then, biking it was. And because it was such a small dang town, the best beach wasn’t far away. And when you went, all your friends also just happened to be there.
11. You know everyone in town. Okay, this is one of the best thing and worst things about growing up in a small town. It totally sucks that everyone in town knows your business, and gossip spreads like wildfire. But it’s also awesome that no matter where you go, someone you know is there to say hi to you and ask how you’re doing.
12. There’s small town charm. So darn much of it. My town has a newspaper that comes out once per month. ONCE! And it isn’t filled with crime and politics like the daily paper you might read. Instead, it talks about town events, what the kids are doing in school, and who went on vacation. Literally. With small town charm comes small town values and traditions, quirky town events all the time, and genuine hospitality
I constantly miss small-town life. Does living in a city have its perks? Absolutely. But you can bet that when Dave and I are deciding where we want to raise our kids, we’re going to be checking out those small towns!
Did you grow up in a small town? What were your favorite parts?
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