I grew up in a small town…a REALLY small town. Although I had a great childhood and a fabulous family, it just didn’t work for me. My mom says she knew by 5th grade that it was inevitable that I would some day be moving on. By the time I hit junior high, it was hard; high school was painful. I graduated with the same people I went to kindergarten with. Sure a few people moved in and few moved out, but we stayed the same for the most part. That made it really difficult to rebrand yourself, to start over, to make new friends, or try and carve a different path for yourself. Some managed to that, and do it well. I wasn’t quite sure of myself by that point yet, so I just came across as indifferent or confused. Who did I want to be? Who should I emulate? Instead of dealing better with those around me, I made friends with people from other schools. It was easier for me to separate my social life from my school life…and that did work. It also alienated me from people I wanted to be friends with, and should have. Therein lies the beauty of Facebook and other social media, but that is another story entirely.
So…we moved, and moved, and moved again. That antsy spirit inside me just couldn’t stay quiet or still. We ended up in a large city (LA) and I traveled extensively and worked from another major city (Manila). Tall buildings, and gridlock traffic, and millions of faceless people milling around you everyday. So imagine my shock to wake up in a small town again. Ok, so it didn’t quite happen overnight and it certainly wasn’t a surprise…but some days it still feels surreal!
In passing last night, Michael says, “Did I tell you that I saw so-and-so yesterday”? He saw this person while driving down the highway. Seriously? You saw someone you knew by driving down the road. That so doesn’t happen in LA. A couple months back we were checking out at Macy’s and struck up a conversation with the salesgirl, whose mother was a realtor who worked in the same office as ours. “Peter Rumsey? You are working with Peter? I LOVE him! I’ve known him my whole life…” And then there was the time that we were at a company event and someone walked up to me with…”Stealey? Are you the people buying the house on Hinsdale?” Turns out he was the seller. Come on!
I see people all the time “running” into acquaintances at the market or the mall. While that hasn’t happened yet, I know it is around the corner. I am living in a small town again, and I think I like it.