When I Left My Small Town

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I live in a city that continues to grow rapidly every single day.  On average, about 96 people move to Nashville, Tennessee daily. Crazy, right?! Some say it will even become the next L.A.  This is great news to me as I am preparing for a career as a real estate agent. All of these transplants are going to need new homes. Cha-ching! Momma needs new shoes. So how did a small-town, country bumpkin, corn-fed, Hoosier like myself end up in these city lights, you ask?

Let’s rewind, and I’ll give you a little background:

The sleepy, little coalmine town that I’m from is nearly off the map. There are a little over 5,000 people, six red lights,  and gas stations that still don’t accept credit cards. The little old man in overalls, smoking a tobacco pipe, will still come out to greet you, pump your gas, clean your windshield, and talk about the weather or last Friday night’s football game.  It’s one of those places that you can’t wait to leave when you get older, but as you get older, you probably end up coming back. I love to visit and see my family and friends, but some people, like myself, just aren’t meant for the small-town life; I knew this at a very young age.

Long story short, I ended up starting a career in property management when I was nineteen years old, instead of finishing my teaching degree.  I landed a great position as a leasing consultant in Bloomington, Indiana and was quickly promoted to a traveling leasing consultant. I lived the life everyone dreams about for almost three years.  I got to travel on the company’s dime while most of my former classmates were still finishing up their degrees. I loved every second of it.  I started to get so career-driven and fueled that I doubted I would ever have a family. Relationships and even friendships were impossible, unless those friendships were with colleagues that I shared travel assignments with. I never knew what state I would be traveling to or possibly living in, so I had no regard of any sense of normalcy. Over the course of two years, I worked and lived in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina.  I felt invincible. Unstoppable. I was happy.

In the spring of 2013, I went through a really unexpected break-up with someone I had begun a life with for almost three years. (We all have them, and it’s what makes us stronger and who we are today.)  We had tried to make things work as I traveled, but it just sent our predictable, small-town lifestyle into a tailspin. I moved back in with my parents for a few months to try and figure out my next plan of action. I soon dismissed the heartache, got a grip, put my big girl pants on, and got back into career mode. That same year, I set my sights on Nashville, Tennessee. I had always loved Tennessee as a child. When we would travel to Florida to visit my mom’s sisters, I promised myself that I would live in both Florida and Tennessee at some point in my life. Florida was already checked off of the list, so Tennessee it was. I also had a passion for songwriting. So why not live a place where I can pursue every dream that I have ever had, right? I applied for positions as a leasing consultant and was contacted for two different properties.  One of them was a luxury community and one of them was a fixer upper.  Let’s just say I nailed the interview with the luxury community and fell in love with the area. It was this little luxury, village community in the middle of the country just about twenty minutes from downtown Nashville. I was finally living in a place that felt like home. And every time I go out of town for awhile and come back, as soon as I see the downtown skyline lights, that calming sense of “home” just completely overwhelms me. Every. Single. Time.

So that’s how I got here, in music city.  I’m coming up on my fourth year of living in Nashville, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. A lot has changed since I first moved here and since I was still that stubborn, career-minded, single woman. In these past four years, I have really “lived” my life to the absolute fullest in this city, and it has blessed me in more ways than one: I met my other half, who gave me my amazing son and perfect stepdaughter. We got married. I quit my job in property management to stay at home with my son. (I never thought I would be able to quit… Until they put that silly, handsome baby in my arms.) I’ve made lifelong friends that would give their right arm for me. And I have an even bigger spark and everyday inspirations for writing than I ever did before.

Some days the hustle and bustle of living in a large city gets to me.  And I think what I wouldn’t give to be back home in Indiana, listening to crickets chirp while I catfish in my favorite spot, waving at nearly every car that drives by, and just slowing life down for a bit. Time seems to stand still in a small town. I miss that.

When I sit and wonder what my life would have been like if I had never left my small town in Indiana, and I had never moved to Nashville, I know the truth. I wouldn’t be ME. I wouldn’t be a messy haired/ coffee drinking/blogging/stay-at-home mother and wife. I certainly wouldn’t be pursuing a career in real estate, writing songs, or even starting my first book. I found myself in this city. And I love this version of myself much better than that single, nineteen year old, selfish person.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with never leaving your hometown, in fact, most people can figure out who they really are by staying; I just couldn’t ever do it. I will always be a proud Hoosier at heart:  I’ll scream and cheer on IU basketball as if I were actually back in my favorite college town bar watching the game. I’ll always go back home to visit my family and friends. I’ll even show my son my favorite fishing hole. (Maybe my husband too, I haven’t decided.) I’ll smile when I see the sunset behind a cornfield filled with silos. I’ll wave at almost every car that passes by, because that’s what you do in a small town. And I’ll stop at that rundown gas station to talk to the little, old man in overalls about the weather and how the town football team is doing that season. I’m proud of where I came from, and I’m happy that it led me to become the person that I am today.

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