Everyone that lives in a small town has a love-hate relationship with it. There are some, mostly the younger citizens, that hate the slowness and lack of excitement and dream of the day they can get away. There are those, usually the older citizens, that choose the small towns for the reasons the young people hate them.
Then there are the ones in the middle that have the most conflicted relationship with their towns often feel like they are spinning their wheels in the mud. On one hand, they like that they know most of the people they come across; on the other, they would like to be anonymous and dream of living in a larger city where they could be. They yearn for the opportunity for a different existence that they could have somewhere else where no one knows them or has any expectations of them. As the old saying goes, the grass is greener somewhere else.
Often the ones in the middle have something preventing them from following their true dreams. It may be anything from the lack of self confidence to family obligations to being unable to afford to move because of the lack of finances. More commonly, it is a combination of factors that keep people trapped in lives they hate.
Very often, the people that are not considered as young or old that are living in small towns because they are taking care of family members. They have older or sick parents that may need their children’s support. Some citizens have families of their own, and perhaps started the family young, before finishing higher education or before firmly establishing a career that allowed them to pursue their true dreams. These not-quite-young and not-quite-old people do whatever they need to do to support their families, modifying and postponing their own desires until they no longer have other people dependent upon them.
I know not all small towns are stifling, and not all big cities are stimulating. Maybe small towns shouldn’t be blamed for people’s problems. I’ve heard people that live in cities bigger than mine complain about being stifled, as well. I wonder, though, if it’s the place these people live or the circumstances of their lives that affect them more. Maybe it’s a combination, the lack of the spark that motivates someone, lessens their ambition to change their situation to make their circumstances more to their liking. Maybe it’s a real mix that no one can really put their finger on to pinpoint what the exact problem is to solve it. It’s so easy to become entrenched in your life, your routine, whether it’s beneficial to your soul or not.
I do know from experience that moving somewhere else does not mean that your life changes automatically. Those that think everything will change magically are often disappointed, and the depressing cycle of their previous life will start over in their new one. In order to change your life, you need to commit to changes from the inside and work outward. You have to change your habits to change your life, and it takes at least 3 weeks or more of doing something consistently for it to stick. Nothing happens instantly, no matter how much you want it to do so. If you have a habit of thinking negatively, you need to reverse it. IF you always see the bad things that can happen, you need to learn to see the good. It’s a long process, and you have to commit to it to get it done.
I can see a light at the end of the tunnel for me in some areas, but not in others. What I mean by that, is that I can see where I will be able to try to achieve some of my more long-term goals in the next few years, but I don’t see this happening in the near future for the more short-term goals I’d like to reach.
Maybe it’s because I’ll be 40 in a couple of years, this introspection. I’m taking stock of my life, and checking my accomplishments and comparing them to plans I made when I was much younger. I’m reviewing those old plans and seeing of they are still feasible, or if I need to revise them. Some of the stuff I wanted to do when I was younger, I don’t want to do now. I’ve made some different possible paths to follow.
As I travel on the train tracks of life, I may check my map and decide to change course again. That’s the thing about life. It doesn’t stay the same. Things change, things happen, and it’s all part of the circle of life and the cycle of change.
Hopefully I’ll get my goals figured out and start working on them soon. I hope that you may see if you need to do it for yourself, as well. I know I need to work on myself, and change myself from the inside out. I don’t want to turn forty and still be spinning my wheels in the mud. I want to be on the road somewhere else, certainly figuratively, maybe literally.
Here’s to re-routing life!