The other day, I was driving around when a song came on the radio. It was by John Cougar Mellancamp, “Small town” I listened to the words of the song and it really touched me personally because I was born and raised in a small town as well. And yes, he is 100 percent right, you can breathe in a small town!! Suppose you had a chance to live in a small town of say, 5,000 people in the middle of nowhere or a larger metropolitan area like my current area of Minneapolis, Saint Paul which has over 3 million people. Which place is more suited for you and why?
I have lived several years in both environments so I would like to share my feelings on this topic. I think you answer to this question really has to with your own personality and age. I am willing to bet a large majority of people under 30 would rather live in a larger city. Of course, a lot of that has to do with more job opportunities, things to do and for any single person, the chance to have a much better pool of people to choose from. I was drawn by many of those things in making my decision to move here. If you are a young, single person, a small town can be a very dull place to live. I have never regretted my decision to move here. I still have a lot of small town in me and love going back to visit my family and relatives. But being single and without a family makes it difficult for me to move back to my hometown.
I think on the other hand that living in a small town is ideal for a couple wanting to raise a family. The cost of living is much cheaper. For instance, a typical house in my hometown is so much cheaper than around here. The crime rate is much lower and the school systems are much smaller and your child probably gets a better education. Imagine having your kids attend a school in a major city. I would rather have my kids, if I had any, to attend a small town school. I think there are way too many bad influences on kids in a larger high school located in a big city.
One of the things that really strikes me with living here as opposed to my hometown is the amount of anonymity that I experience whenever I go out in public. Not that I was the mayor but I usually bumped into someone I knew while going to a store in my hometown. Everyone knows everyone and it is very hard to lay low in a small town. It is entirely different in a larger city. I can go to my local Target store on a Saturday afternoon and not recognize a soul!! Unless you are a big celebrity like myself, hahaha!! you are usually very anonymous and some people like that.
The big advantage that larger cities have is in the entertainment area. There is never a shortage of things to do around here. We have 4 major league teams in town and for a sports fan like myself, I could not be any happier. Combine that with one of the larger malls in the world and many great restaurants, theaters, concerts, festivals and a person can never get bored. A small town does not even come close to offering that kind of excitement. Sure, many have retail stores but when the highlight of your weekend is going a McDonalds to have some chicken nuggets, then you might want to get some more excitement in your life my friend!!
While not having the excitement level of a big city, small towns have the advantage of much fewer people and less of that annoying traffic. It is a totally different scenario when you drive in a small town. I swear, I have never heard a traffic reporter giving traffic updates in my hometown. The only thing that one has to watch out for is those old geezer drivers who fail to stop at a four way stop intersection. There is very seldom any traffic gridlock at all. I just like having fewer people to deal with period!! Life is much slower and quieter without a lot of people running around.
I think the best solution for anyone wanting to experience both is to buy or rent in the suburbs. I can drive for only 5 miles and experience some nice country side and wilderness areas. Many of the suburbs around here have the feel of a small town. If you are lucky enough to work in the suburbs, then you have it made. No long commutes to a downtown workplace would be nice.
Small town living is probably better for your blood pressure and soul but if you really want to experience life, there is no better way than living in a larger city. Just remember to escape to a peaceful small town once in a while to regain your sanity!!