To my hometown,
I lived 18 years of my life inside your small space and I do not think I would be the same without you. You taught me a lot, helped me grow, watched me fail and comforted me during hard times. I met some of my greatest friends and had some of my greatest memories with you. Thank you for being there for me.
Thank you for the community you gave me. Although sometimes, it seemed like this community was too small for its own good. I have never felt more supported than while I was growing up there. I learned that you might not like everyone (or they might not like you), but you love them anyway. The community I grew up in came together during some hard times. We loved families during tragedy and loss. We supported businesses going through hard times. I learned the real sense of community from living with you.
Thank you for the friends you gave me. These friends were with me as I grew up and we went through the same experiences. I just cannot let them go because they mean so much to me (and already know too much). It can be years since I have seen them, and we pick up right where we left off. They were with me as I lost a loved one, received an award and the times I embarrassed myself the most. I know I'll always have forever friends because of you. In high school, I did not think much about not seeing these people all the time. Now, I wish I had cherished it more. Thanks to social media (and the fact that most of our families still live here) I get to catch up with them anytime I want. It is awesome to see what my graduating class of 160 people has done in such a short period of time.
Thank you for being so small I was forced to want adventure and experience new things. I want to explore the ends of the Earth and I believe you have something to do with it. By the time college came around, I was ready to get the heck out and find a place to get lost in (which I sure have found.) I know I complained about how small you were and that there was nothing to do. Without your smallness, I would never be able to appreciate the other places with tons to do. The greatness of my adventures I accredit to you. Don't worry, you're still my favorite small town.
Thank you for being the place I can run to when this beautiful world gets a little too big. You welcome me back with open arms. I come home to my favorite restaurants, homey streets and the comfort of knowing exactly where I am at all times. They might say you can't go home again, but that's a lie. You totally can, in fact, I'm doing it right now.
Although sometimes I get aggravated when I have to name the closest big city near you or pronounce your name several times or have to answer the question, “You do what for the New Year?”, I honestly would not want it any other way.
So thank you, little hometown, for raising me. I know I said some things about you that probably were not the nicest, but I think that is a part of our love-hate relationship. We know I could never really hate you. You gave me the wings to fly, but I'll never forget the place that gave them to me.
I promise I will return the favor one day.
Your forever resident