When you hear the phrase "small town life" many images may pop into your head.
Maybe what pops into your head is the town Tree Hill from the CW series "One Tree Hill."
Maybe it's somebody going over to their neighbor's house to ask them for some sugar. Maybe it's Friday night high school football games. Maybe it's even the lyric "just a small town girl, living in a lonely world" from the hit Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'."
If you ask someone who grew up in a small town what pops into their head when they hear the phrase "small town life," their take on things may or may not be so pretty.
Growing up in a small town, the only way I can put into words how I feel about that phrase is that small town life is both a blessing and a curse. You feel at home wherever you go somewhere in your town (considering you literally can't go anywhere without running into at least one person you know), but rumors and gossip run rampant.
One of the best (and worst) things about growing up in a small town was that everyone knew who everyone else was, so during a trip to the local grocery store, you were always seeing familiar faces. However, considering everyone knows everyone else, everyone also knows everyone else's business. If you're from a small town you know that secrets don't exist where you're from. When things happen, people talk. Some things like someone getting a new significant other, someone getting fired from their job, or even something as insignificant as an A student getting a B on a test is gossip worthy.
However, small town gossip is also a blessing in disguise (yes, I know that sounds crazy, but it's true).
Whenever something really bad happens (a house fire, an unexpected death in a family, a sickness, etc.) everyone in the town steps in to help. Fundraisers, pasta dinners, and raffles are always being held to help out those in need- most of which are heard about by word of mouth. Although everyone knowing everyone else's business can sometimes be annoying, in times of need, it can be crucial. When people really need help, they normally don't ask for it because they don't want to feel like they're burdens. Small town gossip allows everyone to come together for good causes.
Everyone knowing everyone else may be pretty annoying at times.
For example, when you're running late already but you run into your neighbor at the store and they're trying to make small talk with you about last night's high school football game but you just want to get to where you have to go. But knowing everyone can also be a good, comforting thing. Living in a small town is like living with a bunch of extended family members because that's really what you are- one big (mostly) happy family.
Small town life can be viewed as many levels of both good and bad, but one thing is for certain. Regardless of how far you may roam from your small town, when you return, it will always still feel like home.