• Richie Mroz

Life in a Small Town

I have lived in a small town for close to eighteen years. I rode my first bike and drove my first car on the roads of that town. I received my first report card and my diploma from the schools of that town. I met people that I will be friends with for the rest of my life. I learned values from it that I would not otherwise understand. I was able to grow up in that town and now eighteen years later, I get to watch my brother and sister do the same. It sounds cliché, but that small town has made me who I am today and I would not have it any other way. I believe that small towns offer a strong sense of community and provide a lifestyle that makes them the best place to live and raise a family.

Small towns have a strong sense of community that bigger areas and cities simply do not offer. Everyone knows who you are and knowing that the people around you look after one another can be a really great thing. According to Thrillist.com writer Caitlyn Hitte, “The sense of community that exists in small towns where everyone knows each other and will greet people on the streets is often non-existent in big cities. While it’s hard to fathom feeling lonely around millions of people, the fact is, the design of cities can make residents especially vulnerable to social isolation. Impersonal high-rise buildings, lack of public spaces, and a culture of long working hours all contribute to the problem”. This sense of community that small towns offer sparks something in people whether they know it or not. In the town that I live in, Wilmington, there are many different things that bring people together. According to the United States Census Bureau, Wilmington has a population of about 6,000 people. Even with its small population, Wilmington has a bowling alley, a movie theatre, a park district with multiple baseball fields, a gym, family restaurants, antique shops and bars. In the summer there are flea and farmers markets that go on every Saturday down Main Street. There are also car shows, parades, and the famous Catfish Days fair that marks the end of summer. The historic Route 66 runs right through the heart of Wilmington. There are multiple historic sites that tourists come and visit such as a restaurant called The Launching Pad.

However, Wilmington is probably best known for its football program. Wilmington Football is what brings the town closest together. Every Friday night, all 6,000 people are at the football field supporting the Wildcats. That is an exaggeration of course but it sure does seem like it. If you are working somewhere in town that night, might as well just close up early because no one is coming in. Past generations to current come together and watch the game. While the little kids run around on the easement outside of the actual stadium, teenagers hangout by the fence of the field and the adults sit in the bleachers.

Small towns also offer a lifestyle that allows people an escape from the hustle and bustle of major cities or bigger areas. Living in a small town allows people to look up at the stars without light pollution. It allows people to drive without having to worry about traffic. Small towns offer something that bigger cities and areas cannot…space. They offer people the freedom to have bonfires, ride 4-wheelers, and let their dogs run wild. Air pollution is a major problem in cities. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution causes 4.2 million deaths globally every year. Smaller rural areas give people the chance to enjoy nature and live a happier life. According to a Washington Post study that ranked a group of 1,215 communities in Canada based on the average happiness of the individuals living in these communities, it was discovered that the “average population density in the 20 percent most miserable communities was more than eight times greater than in the happiest 20 percent of communities. The study concluded that “Life is significantly less happy in urban areas”. According to nationalleagueofcities.org, a small town’s slower pace of life and focus on families and neighbors provide a foundation upon which strong communities can be built.

I love the town that I live in. Of course, it has its problems as does any town, but I can honestly say that I couldn’t have grown up in a better place. The town’s tight knit community has offered up a lot to me and has made me who I am today. The overall lifestyle of living in a small town has proven to me that a small town is the best place to live and raise a family.

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