Rural America: Advantages and Disadvantages

Let’s face the facts. Cities love growth. One of the biggest charms that I’ve experienced is living in a small town. There’s a few reasons why I believe that small towns are often a heartbeat that the big city doesn’t capture in the same capacity. For those who remember the “Cheers” sitcom, small towns have a feel that tend to make more of a home feeling grow. Folks know who you are, they look out for each other, they are about community, family, and in a strange way, they resist some change. They want the feel to be there for generations to come. I look at towns that are trying to keep growing by adding so much additional housing. The consideration of additional trash and traffic are not dealt with by those who are planning for the big growth. The people who live in those areas are the ones that are affected.

Growing up in a small town influenced me greatly. There was an annual Easter Horse show in the area I lived that drew big crowds every year. As part of the duties of the Girl Scouts, it was my job to help clean up the trash from the horse show. Occasionally, it would pay off. People would lose money in the fields and of course, as young girls, we kept it. When you’re a kid, everything seems bigger to you. But when you grow up, you begin to recognize that your perception of big changes as you get older. The more you travel, the broader your world becomes. The more you push yourself into higher status, the larger the domain you encompass widens. The point is that smaller towns can often look like they are limiting to a person. It truly just depends on what your needs are and where your mindset is.

I’m going to flat out say it. I love having the best of both worlds. I love to go on the front porch at night and listen to the insects speaking to one another with a glass of wine in one hand and a cat sitting on the swing beside me. In the city, I hear so much traffic that the noise drowns out any thoughts that I’ve got roaming in my mind. For some of my friends it’s the complete opposite. They can’t imagine being without the constant hustling and bustling of the city. It truly is based on personal preference. The city gives me the option to experience the world in a larger scale than rural areas. But it’s the personal touch of the rural developments that make me feel at home.

It’s not necessarily the southern hospitality that you hear about that makes me feel this way. There is some truth to that statement but I’ve had incredible hospitality all over the world that is its own version of the hospitality of the south and to be clear, there is some actions like violence that is everywhere. There are instances in all areas that prove this time and time again. There is no place on this earth immune to violence. But I don’t generally worry about being shot on my street in a rural area. That’s not to say I don’t take precautions because I do, but smaller communities tend to band together in community watches and are constantly keeping communities updated with problems in the area. Families go to several different congregations and are able to worship without always fearing attacks. More churces now have designed plans to protect themselves against shootings in the future.

Festivals that are held throughout the year are different than the urban counterparts. Many rural families grow their fruits, vegetables and other herbs and spices. Baking contests are done with cakes and pies that could rival many other places because they are baked to perfection. The apple pies that are auctioned off can go for a very hefty price when things like quilts are auctioned. Some of those quilts are antiques. They will keep a person warm in the coldest of winters. Folks in rural communities are able to pick some of the freshest assortments of food right off the vine and cook it with a flavor that I’ve yet to see any city place capture with the aroma, the texture, and taste. Many of these folks cook with heart. That’s nothing on the city. There are some incredible chefs in the city. They take many of the foods that they grew up with and give their own unique signature of love. Many city and country folks who bake, cook, create, and deliver unique tastings are not small minded. Some of them have incredible selections in both areas. Rural areas tend to not have as much to choose from so their selection is nowhere near as vast as the city. But there are tastes in the rural areas that can give the city a run for its money. There’s a chocolate shop near my home. They create many different styles of chocolate. I had the opportunity to try their truffles and milk chocolate creations. They literally melted in my mouth. Then I tried another company in the city. Their chocolate was incredible too. You could tell both shops were run with love.

It used to be that rural areas didn’t have as many streets to deal with as the city. That’s changing in many areas. More cities are becoming developed and the small communities are starting to grow. There’s always exceptions. Some of them are actually having a difficult time remaining integral to an area for growth. When companies shut down, especially in rural areas, it really impacts the economy. Families are affected in ways that many people can’t begin to fathom. Growth can go one of two ways. If there are no jobs close to people’s homes, they may be forced to locate to another area. Sometimes that means packing up everything a person has ever known and starting over in a strange new territory. It also means a family may leave their rural home and become part of the city.

There are benefits to both worlds. I never want to say one is better than the other. It truly is what you prefer. For me, I chose both worlds. The city provides things like Museums, Art Galleries, Performance Centers, and many other businesses that are not always in rural areas. There’s exceptions to every rule but, overall, I enjoy being challenged daily. I love to experience new things and new places and the cities provide more of that than rural areas do but the rural areas contain part of my heart. No matter how choose to view things, your heart will tell you where you belong. If you love both worlds, find a way to merge them. Life doesn’t always have to be about one choice versus another. Sometimes compromises provide a blend of new and old traditions that help us form relations with each other irregardless of where we dwell. So if you love the rural areas, enjoy it. If you are a city person, enjoy everything you can. Live your life the way you want. Hopefully, you’ll get to experience both realms and be able to savor every moment.

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