This is an ode to the boys and girls that came from the middle of nowhere, and found themselves as small fish in a big town sea. You might have spent your toddlerhood on a station, kindergarten in the bush, (in my case) the first eight years of your life in a tiny seaside town that is loved by all in summer and left alone in the chilly winter months or (also in my case) your adolescence sharing the road with trundling tractors and your backyard with grapevines galore.
It’s likely that you’ve always felt a little out of place amongst the hustle bustle and big dreams of the cityscape, but the truth is that they need you just as much as you need them. Growing up in a little place has taught you so many lessons, and shaped the person that you are today in an incredible amount of ways- here are four to begin with.
You are friendly as all heck.
Even the most angst-ridden small town teenager will say hello to their neighbours if they see them over the fence, even the grumpiest old bloke will swing a wave your way if you pass them on the street; because a) if they don’t the whole town will know that they are “too big for their boots, thank you very much” and b) they know the value of kindness to another when there’s a tiny pool to pick from. Your friends might think you’re a bit of a dag for smiling at every person you walk by on the footpath, but it’s how you grew up, and it’s a beautiful way to be.
You value hard work.
Not that those who grew up surrounded by high rise buildings and trendy cafes can’t hold their own on this front, but the beauty of living in a town with a total of six casual jobs going and twenty kids wanting extra money means that if you’re in, you work your guts out to stay in. Your parents probably didn’t want to drive you all the way to the next district and your mate tom had told you a horrible story about the washing up jobs his older brother got stuck with at the butchers, so you bet your bottom dollar you were going to polish those glasses shinier than they had ever been polished before.
Gratitude comes a little easier for you.
Whether it’s seeing the path that your life could have gone down if you’d stayed in that little town, appreciating the fact that you get more stations than just WIN and ABC or understanding the sacrifice your parents made either spending bucket loads of dosh on boarding school or uplifting their lives to a bigger place to give you more opportunities, sometimes you can’t help but stop and think how lucky you are. It’s also a huge perk for you if there’s a fast food shop within fifteen minutes of your place, and if you have public transport access then your life is pretty much complete.
You will always have another home.
It may be two weeks since you’ve been home or you may have moved away fourteen years ago, but that little slice of earth will always hold a bit of your heart. If you’re lucky, things have stayed mostly the same in your tiny town, and you could pop into the deli tomorrow, drop your mum and dad’s name and spend the next half hour listening to stories about the mischief you got up to as a little one.You will feel a little sting of pride and envy when someone talks about the time they visited and it felt like “their place”, but you know that some of it will always belong to you, and some of you to that spot in the middle of nowhere.
Did you grow up in a small town? What has it taught you? x