33 Things You Know If You Grew Up In A Small Town

33 Things You Know If You Grew Up In A Small Town

Here's a hint: It's not at all like the movies... and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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I was born and raised in a town with less than 2,000 people. A town where everyone truly does know everybody (I'm seriously not exaggerating). My high school graduating class was less than 100 students -- and it was the only school in the entire town. It truly doesn't get much smaller than the town I grew up in and the surrounding areas. After moving to Tallahassee about a year and a half ago for school, I realized how different my upbringing was from most others.

Those of us who grew up like this know it's nothing like what Hallmark and other movies try and portray it as -- but that's not a bad thing. If you truly grew up in a small town you'll be able to relate to these thirty-three things.

1. You don't eat out a lot.

But when you do, it's ALWAYS the same restaurant that everyone goes to and you end up spending hours there because you have to talk to everyone.

2. There are more churches than restaurants. 

I didn't need food that much anyway.

3. You went to kindergarten with the same group of 50 you graduated high school with. 

Everyone knows each other and each other's business.

4. You spend your "free time" working on your farm.

... Or someone else's.

5. Your idea of a night out on the town is sitting on the bed of trucks in Walmart parking lots blaring music until curfew. 

This is our version of going to the club.

6. There's that one sweet old lady that everyone calls "Aunt _____", but she isn't actually anyone's aunt. 

We are all family.

7. You can't do anything without the entire town (including your parents) knowing about it by the end of the business day.

I can't sneeze without my neighbors knowing I did it.

8. High school sports are NO JOKE. 

Everyone in the entire town will be in the stands on Friday nights cheering on the mediocre football team.

9. You've actually seen someone drive a tractor to school.

It's more common than you think.

10. FFA is a religion. 

Agriculture is life.

11. There are more cars than trucks. 

I'm sure you can relate.

12. A trip to Walmart takes several hours because of all the people that you see and have to talk to. 

This means I have to leave two hours in advance.

13. You have to drive at least an hour to go see a movie. 

This also means leaving way in advance.

14. You have to drive at least an hour to find a mall.

Once again... prepare and leave early.

15. You don't have WiFi.

It's impossible for you to get connection and everyone you meet outside of your town thinks it's absurd.

16. You've probably dated one of your friend's exes.

Sadly, there just aren't that many people to choose from.

17. You were driving four-wheelers and other ATVs before you turned 13. 

Life skills, am I right?

18. You learned how to drive in someone's work truck in a field. 

We all have to learn somehow.

19. A tractor has made you late for school. 

Try telling your school this and see if they allow it as an excuse.

20. You understand what number 19 means. 

Sorry to those who don't get it.

21. You have THE camouflage jacket or 

or Carhartt jacket.

22. A date is going to McDonald's for ice cream. 

Because there isn't much else to do.

23. Your high school math teacher was also your dad's high school math teacher. 

It all stays the same.

24. There are more cows than people. 

This might explain my social skills...

25. You can identify more vegetables or animal breeds than you can designers. 

And you like it like that.

26. Everybody truly does know everything about everybody. 

Once again, we are just one big family.

27. At least half of your town would take a bullet for you. 

It's the beauty of everyone know everyone.

28. You're not scared being alone after dark. 

We all help each other.

29. If your car won't start after school, you're going to have a group of at least 5 people trying to help you.

And they'll get your car running better than before.

30. Any and all festivals that your town has are guaranteed to be HUGE and incredibly fun.

The whole town looks forward to these.

31. High school homecoming is a BIG DEAL to everyone in the community. 

There still isn't much else to do.

32. You always feel so loved. 

One. Big. Family.

33. You wouldn't trade your small town for anything. 

It's my home.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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