Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Small Town Essay

I’ve attached (and recommend you read) a link to an an interesting piece. A friend sent it to me this morning. It looks like it’s going to be a book review but, it’s really a story about growing up in a place like we did. I get what the author has to say.

I’ll admit, and I think this is true for many of my fellow ex-pat Watsekans, as a teenager I thought Watseka was provincial. I couldn’t wait to take a two-lane out of town. I wanted to travel as many roads as I could. Well, thanks to a few turns of good luck, I was able to – and I’ve found all roads lead back to Watseka.

I wanted to leave because I thought there had to be “more.” Some people may still think that. I, however, don’t think there is more. Watseka, and other small towns, are pretty nice places to live. Do they offer all the diversity, amenities, and cultural opportunities larger cities have? No. Instead, they offer community. They are places where (and this is good and bad), by virtue of proximity and population, everyone is accountable to everyone else.

I’m captivated by this, from the essay: "I don't like my hometown. But I do love it, because it - in its own infuriating way - taught me the most important lesson in life: you haven't grown up until you care about someone else more than yourself."

Several years ago I wrote that many people who left Watseka wonder how much different their lives would have been if they’d stayed. I suggested that, conversely, many who stayed wonder how their lives would have been different if they’d left.

As I’ve reconnected with Watsekans (who left and stayed) I’ve concluded that our lives wouldn’t have been much different. Most of us have ended up seeking out people who care about someone else more than they care about themselves.