Monday, November 15, 2010

Local Pride

          Since high school I have heard teenagers and early twenty-somethings lament the area in which they live. Sure, Western Kentucky is not a sprawling urban metropolis, but to me, that’s its appeal. These kids talk about how there is nothing to do here and how much they hate it. They’re bored. First things first: they’re bored here and they would be bored anywhere else. Boredom can be a sign of laziness. How many of these kids read books? Probably not many. I was a bored teenager once too, but I found Dungeons and Dragons and the pretty much sapped all of my boredom away. Get a hobby.
          To me, the Western Kentucky area is home. It’s all I’ve ever known. For a brief point several years ago I considered moving to Nashville and that would have been a huge mistake for a plethora of reasons.  I love it here. For those who don’t know, I grew up on the outskirts of Paducah. It was a borderline rural area. Not urban, and certainly not suburban, but not quite your-closest-neighbor-is-a-mile-away-rural. At this point in my life, I’m actually in a more rural location than that, but still not quite as far removed as, ideally, I would like to be. I love the peace.
          It’s nice to drive down a two-lane, 55 miles per hour highway and really take in your surroundings. To me, that’s way better than a concrete jungle: a six lane highway with thousands of cars and a 70 miles per hour speed limit in which, if you actually do just that, you’re holding up traffic. I like to have the windows rolled down in the spring and smell freshly cut grass, not the smells of a city of industry. I’ve never considered myself a country boy, and I still wouldn’t, but man I love the country lifestyle. Knowing your neighbors. Having a local grocery store where they literally know your name. It’s quiet and slow and all I could ask for.
          Embrace who you are and where you come from. Know that the only thing bigger cities have is more of the same. Paducah has a few bars. Nashville has more bars, but they are all the same. It’s not a different experience. Standing outside on a crisp autumn night and finding it impossible to count the stars means infinitely more to me than having a Starbucks to get my coffee from.

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