I left my hometown after graduating from high school. I moved to Calgary and certainly wasn’t going to return home to live, EVER. I planned on getting an education, and then a career and was going to shop at Eaton’s downtown forever.
There was nowhere to wear my three-inch stilettos in Sparwood anyway — we didn’t even have sidewalks. City people were way more interesting than any small town people I’d ever met. I knew almost everything back then.
Well, thirty odd years later I am here in Sparwood. I married the guy from across the street and I’ve lived in the same house for almost 26 years. My next-door neighbor is a guy I grew up with and who also went to school in Calgary and was also not going to live here. EVER. He has lived next door for 25 years.
I left a pretty good job to come back here to marry the guy from across the street. I was pretty sure back then I’d never find a job I liked as much.
I started working for a small non-profit agency back then, just to fill the time till something better came along. I stayed each year and learned something new. I met people who changed my beliefs about the world. Nothing better ever came along. The people I work with know I think I have the best job in the world, because I tell them I do all the time. I discovered that small communities and small agencies are great places to grow in.
I have made great friendships and had wonderful opportunities over the years. I know teachers, engineers, geologists and even a high school counselor who left here to get an education but chose to come back, bringing their knowledge with them.
I came back and was able to carve out a job with an agency that supports my values and my right to voice them. Together all of us who were not coming back EVER make this a great place to live. Eaton’s closed down and high heels hurt my feet. I think I made a good choice.
It’s the time of year when kids are planning graduation and thinking about heading off. They have big dreams about making the world a better place, and finding true happiness. I overheard one of them today saying he was moving away after graduation, and he wasn’t coming back, EVER. I wanted to wish him the best, and tell him that it doesn’t matter where you make your dreams come true. It’s just about growing wherever you happen to land.
“Grow Again” Original Bliss @ flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.