According to the 2000 US Census, my hometown only has 202 people. You could fit the whole population of my hometown into my campus’ chapel with room to spare. That’s how small of a village we are. However, I have come to appreciate the stereotypical “simple life” that comes with said small existence.
During high school, I loathed my hometown. I think that’s a requirement for all teenagers, but I was ready to hit the ground running. I was just waiting on my parents to let me go so I could enter the pearly gates of collegedom. Once I came to college, I soaked in (and still do) the city life. Granted, the city I am in now isn’t huge, but it entertains me. There are plenty of flashing lights and restaurants to keep me enthralled, so I don’t complain. Heck, if I’m feeling especially rowdy, I can drive about 15 miles to Lexington and haunt large bookstores that want my money.
Anyway, as a teenager that knew everything, I especially knew that I hated where I lived. I hated our dog. I hated those stupid owls that would perch on our roof at night and make noise. I really hated the fact that everybody around me so not like me. I was the lone intellectual in a sea of vast nothingness and ignorant simplicity. As I would learn, and not until recently, I don’t know everything and could stand to learn a few things from the simple folk I was once surrounded by.
It didn’t take me long to realize that college is difficult, challenging, fun, but also fast paced. It will wear you down quickly even though you’ve done nothing but sit all day bent over a book or computer screen. This semester has been especially hard. I don’t know why, but it has. I sometimes find myself wishing for home, but desiring to stay planted in the world of academia for the sake of learning. The place I once fostered a mild hate for now becomes the center of my dream destination. I have discovered though, that sometimes simplicity is the best cure for a stressful life.
Sometimes I need a break away from the books to stare at my old bedroom ceiling and sometimes I need to sleep with the windows open and hear the crickets chirp. Sometimes I need a break from discussing literature and its multiple meanings and talk about something simple like the bipolar weather. Sometimes I need to hear a sermon from a minister without a seminary degree to tell me that we need quiet in our lives. Sometimes I need to let my mind freeze in its place and recharge.
Sometimes I need the simple life. Looking back, I should have appreciated where I grew up a little bit more. True, there was no movie theatre, major restaurants, or anything of the like within the county to entertain all 202 of us, but it was simple. Yes, there are some in my community that lead hard lives and there are others who haven’t known life outside of our small county, but they are honest people doing honest work.
If given the chance, I would make all of my life decisions over again. I would choose my college again if given the opportunity and yes, I would move away and find my future. However, if I could change one thing, I would have appreciated those around me a little bit more. I would have quit wishing for the future to speed its way towards me and I would have relished the sweet, yet complex simplicity that comes with being geographically isolated.