Looking back over the years, I've really begun to appreciate the fact that I grew up in a small town. There was a time that growing up in a small town may have seemed to keep me, and those with whom I interacted daily, far from the big world beyond. In our more adventurous years, during our youth and early adulthood, we often had the urge to break free of our binds, parents, and roots to burst forth into the unknown and discover what was out there — to explore and attempt something new, to become who we imagined we wanted to be, to find out who we were, or simply to discover where the road out of town might have led us.
For some of us, our journey may have begun like a rocket ship ride into the future we now know as the present; for others, it may have been like a leisurely walk down back roads and trails on a spiritual journey with more miles logged within our thoughts rather than with our feet.
Eventually, we come to another crossroads along the way — or often these days, a roundabout — and it's time to decide in which direction we are going to go at this juncture in our journeys.
Due to social media, we are more electronically connected. The six degrees of separation seem to have crumbled under the weight of the infinite number of tags, texts, pins, and Tweets. But it's up to each of us to keep our world comfortable and human, to embrace others, look into someone's eyes when we communicate, or listen to children talk about their day. Handwrite a letter or visit a friend or relative you may not have seen or talked to in a while. Learn about their voyages, dreams, desires, and challenges.
Even though we live in a world full of people with different ideologies, goals, and aspirations, we are blessed with the fact that we are meant to be here for each other. Any city can have that special small town feel, and it starts with each of us. We just need to look up from our devices, wave at our friends, smile more, and welcome our visitors. Start a friendly conversation with someone new. You'll learn more about yourself in doing so, and you'll both feel closer to home.