The “hometown” has a special place in American folklore. There are dozens of books, films, and songs celebrating the hometown, and the position that it holds in our memories. My own hometown occupies such a central location in my life that I can’t imagine where I would be today had I not grew up in it. I realize that not everyone has fond memories of hometown, but I think most can admit that the hometown holds a special (or at least significant) place in many people’s minds.
I began to think about my own views on hometown life when I read a comment that seemed to look down on those who have never left their hometown. Six years ago I probably would have agreed with this person, but over the years I have come to appreciate my hometown a lot more. I think that time away from, and returning back to, my hometown has allowed me to appreciate it in a way that I didn’t necessarily appreciate it when I was growing up.
We often think of success in terms of leaving our hometown and making it “big” in another place, usually a town or city. Some people see “going off” to college or traveling the world as signs that someone has been able to rise beyond their hometown and the trappings that may exist there. This may be true for some people, but for others the opposite is true. I think that there are many ways to be successful in life. One does not have to leave one’s hometown in order to “make it.” If everybody was meant to leave the hometown there wouldn’t be a hometown. Some people have to stay and hold that culture down. These are often the people who make returning home an enjoyable and memorable experience. I love traveling with my father to his hometown, and seeing how his face lights up when he runs into old friends who never left. What would the hometown be without familiar faces from our past? What would it be if we didn’t have people to talk about the old days, and how much things have changed or stayed the same?
There are many ways to experience this journey called life. For some, the journey of life takes us out of our hometown; for others, the journey keeps us in our hometown. It is important to respect each other’s varied life journey’s.