The world is our oyster. That’s what I was always told growing up. I was told to break out of that bubble we surround ourselves with, and go make something of the world. We’re told to grow up and plant new roots in a new place. To start living the best life we possibly can. But what if I don’t want to? What if where I am, is where I want to plant newer roots? Is that such a bad thing?

I’ve always dreamed of the big city living. The extravagant lifestyles that come with the bustling cities. Imagining the constant passing of strangers while walking street after street. I always pictured that would be me when I grew up. Now that I am grown up, nearing the end of my college education, I am being faced with reality even more, every single day. I would be lying if I told you that I still want that lifestyle. The nonstop, stirring lifestyle of the city. I simply don’t want that way of life anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love cities. I love the feeling I get when I’m surrounded by faces who each have their own story. Passing strangers I’ll never see again. I love the smell cities hold among all the food carts on every corner. But most of all, I love knowing that at the end of the day, I’ll be heading home to my small suburban town that I’ve only truly felt at home.

I don’t know if it’s the smallness of the town that gives me the sense of security, but I do know that I love this place I call home. Sure, there have been more than enough times than I can count that I’ve either told my parents, friends, or random people from town, that I can’t wait to escape this place. That, at times, it feels like I’m being swallowed up by the small proximity. The truth of the matter is, I don’t want to leave. This town has taught me so much, that leaving wouldn’t feel right.

Growing up in a small town is one of the best things I am thankful for. Being part of a close-knit community isn’t something everyone can say they had the chance to experience growing up.

It’s taught me to be thankful for being close to family and friends. Living here has shown me that when the town is in need, the community will come together to support each other. Small town living isn’t just about walking down Main Street, and being guaranteed you’ll see someone you know. It’s about coming together to share traditions. Growing up in a small town has taught me to not take things for granted. It’s sharing experiences with your neighbors in town. It’s about going to every home high school football game to cheer on your fellow classmates, even if you’re not friends with them. Having the ability to walk, or ride your bike around town. The experiences you make at the town held functions, will be cherished for many years to follow. The quirkiness of small towns shape you to be who you are today, tomorrow, and years to come. There are so many positive things to come from growing up in a historical town that’s smaller than most state universities. But living in a small town does come with consequences. You can bet yourself small towns sure do gossip! If the town didn’t gossip though, could it really be considered small town living? If you’re trying to avoid certain people, I suggest just staying in your home, because even going to the local supermarket you’ll see at least one familiar face. Enduring a teenage breakup with the local heartthrob? Good luck, because everyone will know about it before you're even aware of it. Townspeople are going to talk! That's just a fact!

I occasionally find myself thinking about how life would’ve been different, if say, I grew up in a major city like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles. Life would definitely be different, to say the least. I don’t think I would appreciate the little things I do now. Of course, I can’t say that for sure, because I’ve never lived in a city for an extended period of time. Maybe one day I’ll find myself adventuring the streets of a city. Or maybe I’ll find myself planting new roots right where I am. I know realistically I’ll probably end up somewhere different in a year or two, but who’s to say I can’t come back? Who’s to say I can’t plant new roots in a different small town? Wherever life takes me, I know I’m going to take the memories made as a small town girl with me.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is thank you, Moorestown, for teaching me the way of life from a young age.