I think a lot of people from my hometown like to complain that we live in the middle of nowhere. In a sense, that's true, as Bucks County is a suburb in Pennsylvania. But we're surrounded by so much opportunity here. Many Bucks County natives are so used to opportunity that they overlook it. That was me for the entirety of my childhood, anyway. Even sometimes today, when I'm back in my hometown complaining that there is nothing to do here, I have to remind myself of how lucky I am.
That's why it can be vital to get away.
Sometimes we need to leave a place in order to see just how much it shaped us or just how fortunate we are to have grown up there.
Just because it's a great place doesn't mean you have to stay put. Even if you're standing in one of the safest, most opportunistic places, that doesn't mean you can't leave. The truth is, if this is all you know, how are you going to become the person you're meant to become? How are you going to grow?
I think my hometown is the best place to grow up, but it's easy to outgrow.
Maybe one day, after I've lived abroad and after I've experienced the city, I'll come back to my hometown and raise a family here. Who wouldn't want to come back or raise their kids in a safe area full of chances?
But before all of that, I have to see the world.
That's why college is extremely important too. Other than for the obvious educational reason, college is an opportunity for growth and new social connections. It isn't until this time in our lives that we really see what other hometowns are like (if you're like me and never moved towns while growing up).
I may have outgrown my hometown, walking the same paths in the park, eating at the same restaurants, driving the same routes every day, but that doesn't mean I would change my childhood. I wouldn't change it for the world. This place gave me those classic next-door neighbors that you read about in books, my best friends and future bridesmaids, and endless possibilities. I was exposed to art and sports and musical instruments as a kid, and I could have taken up any hobby I wanted to. I found I was a great reader and writer, but only because I had the chance to figure this out in the first place. Imagine all of the kids in the world who could be the next Picasso or Shakespeare if only they had access to the tools that let them discover their talents.
I think about this and I realize just how lucky I am to have grown up where I did. I may know my town like the back of my hand and may be ready for something new, but at least I have the chance to go somewhere new. That's all thanks to my hometown and the opportunities it provides.