Essay About Myself: Small Town, Big Town, Country Roads, and City Streets
Rural communities are infamous as the stereotypical run-down towns filled with uneducated country bumpkins and tiny churches around each corner. While this description is accurate to some towns, it is not applicable to every community with less than 5,000 occupants. Small towns, in fact, can be the ideal environment to grow up in due to the sense of seclusion from the busyness of life by living amongst nature. Growing up in Van Alstyne, Texas has been a simple and peaceful experience, especially having spent many years trekking through the woods. Being surrounded by trees and letting my imagination run loose played a key aspect in my childhood as it molded my relationship with my sister, our outlooks on life, and essentially changed me into who I am today.
Reflecting upon the days spent wandering what I thought was the wilderness, following trickling creeks, and examining the flowers littering the forest floor, my sister was always there. Remembering the way she would curiously examine the bright green leaves of the plants and the way she would sit cross-legged on the dirt floor, focused on making us a dinner composed of mud and sticks brings a warm feeling to my heart. If it weren’t for the endless hours spent playing to our heart’s content together, we might not have grown so close. Those hours spent playing “house” and “family”, attempting to discover new flowers, and sword fighting with the longest twigs we could find, essentially established our relationship. Without realizing it, that time is what created and strengthened that sisterly bond because those memories allowed us to connect deeply in that the memories we share are uniquely our own.
Reminiscing upon our childhood, my sister told me, “I feel like, had I grown up in a city and not been able to run out and play in the woods, or go out into a field and jump on hay bales, my imagination would have been substantially limited.” Because of this peaceful childhood and memories associated with growing up where we did, she told me that it would not even be in question whether or not she would choose to live in a rural area in the future. She went on to say, “That time I spent among the trees, making pitiful forts from rotted wood, and letting my imagination run wild while playing in bushes makes me wish others could experience that, as well. If I have children, I want them to experience that because there is nothing that could replace the fresh air and standing before the wide expanse of the woods.”
Due to having grown up in a large family, it was not unusual for my mother to tell us to go play outside and not come back until the sun was setting. However, that never bothered me, as I had already grown to love spending time amongst the trees and with my sister. In fact, this allowed me to acquire a sense of independence. Although I was always aware that I was never truly unattended, the fact that I had no parents quietly hovering behind allowed me to choose how to spend my playtime as I pleased. I could climb the trees; I could build forts; I could rule kingdoms; I could become a scientist and discover new species of insects; I could learn to toughen up over a couple of scratches. That independence taught me how to help myself, how to think for myself, how to think creatively, and to understand the rules my parents laid out, allowing me to grow up, in a sense.
Through those endless days of wandering, my character and what I consider essential aspects of my personality have truly been impacted by this time in my life. Spending much time by myself among nature and alone with my thoughts, I have learned to love getting lost in thought and taking in my surroundings. I learned to appreciate the bright sun streaming seamlessly through the gnarled branches high above my head; the crunching of leaves and twigs beneath my feet, filling my ears, as the rest of the surrounding area would be eerily quiet aside from the occasional chirp. This silence and time alone in the woods always provided a sense of tranquility within myself. It allowed me to step away from the craziness of what life has to offer through living in a large family, sort through my thoughts, and to even lose myself in my thoughts, which I still do often.
Whether it is hearing the birds gently chirp or the soft rustle of leaves, I will forever be reminded of the woods I spent countless hours imagining the day away in. Although one might not realize, the location of one’s childhood can greatly impact the character and the future of an individual. It is understandable that small towns might not always hold the best reputation, but immersing oneself into what that environment has to offer is irreplaceable as it can provide a sense of independence and deepen relationships, especially in the fundamental stages of life.