I grew up in a very small town in suburban New Jersey. In my town, almost everyone knew everyone, there was only one main road and everybody went to the carnival at the church around the corner from my house every summer. When I was young, my mom and dad used to let me ride my bike to the park by my house with friends where we would sit on the benches and talk about life for hours. I fell in love with the boy down the street, was best friends with the girl around the corner and played basketball with the girl next door.
However, I cannot stay.
They say one of two things happens to people who grow up in a small town. They either stay or they go. For a good majority of my life, I figured that I would be raising my kids in the same town that I grew up in or very close.
Then I started traveling the country.
When my feet touched the shores of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, when my tongue tasted the Cajun cuisine in New Orleans, and when I landed in Dallas-Forth Airport I realized just how massive this country really is.
I value everything about my childhood but I want to truly experience different places. What better way to do that than to live there?
I'm comfortable where I am, but life truly begins at the end of your comfort zone. I want to be somewhere that I can start over; mold who I am and not have everyone know me since I was in diapers.
Instead of living in the suburbs, maybe I'll live in a big city where there is always people buzzing around or somewhere to go at 2 a.m. Maybe I'll decide to live in a different country where the culture is completely different than what I grew up with.
If you take anything from this article, it is that the world is your oyster. Do things that you aren't comfortable with and you may just find it was the best thing for you. Push yourself out of your tiny bubble and open yourselves up to different people, places, and ideas. Make it a point to try to go somewhere new every year.
Most of all, don't be afraid to leave your small town too.