Last weekend we went home to West Virginia to see my family. My parents moved from my hometown of Hundred to the bustling metropolis of Morgantown almost 9 years ago. I rarely visit Hundred, and that's okay with me. I lived in Morgantown for six years in college and law school, and I love it there. I'm happy that it's my pseudo hometown.
My husband, sister, niece and I went to see country music superstar Brad Paisley at the WVU Coliseum. This isn't the first time I've seen him perform; we've also seen him in Auburn Hills, MI and Grand Rapids. He's one of my favorite performers, and he's a fellow West Virginian. While the shows in Michigan were great, there was something about Brad Paisley playing in his home state that elevated this show. I thought about him growing up in tiny Glen Dale, West Virginia, a town of just over 1,500 people (about 40 miles from Hundred). Was he always ambitious? Would he have become a superstar if he was from a larger place? Does being from a small place make an ambitious person inherently more so? Does one have to try harder and push more than someone from a place with more opportunities? Is being from a small town a hindrance or a help?
|With my niece and sister at the concert|
|My senior yearbook photo and list of activities.|
|Straight from my senior memory book.|
I love the 2002 movie Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon. If you haven't seen it, Reese plays Melanie, a girl from Alabama who leaves her small town behind as she makes it as a fashion designer in New York City. In one scene Reese drunkenly yells to her hometown friends in the bar, "How do y'all live like this?" I'll be honest - that's how I feel when I go to my hometown. I love that it was a safe, quiet place to grow up, and it is a huge part of who I am. But I needed bigger, louder and busier, and that small town just wasn't going to cut it.
When I fell in love with Washington, DC at age 16, I never imagined my professional life would be dedicated to cities. I never imagined that a significant part of my personal life would include traveling to cities for running and vacation. When I think back to growing up in Hundred my thoughts are nostalgic. I've always known I'd need more than a tiny town in northern West Virginia. But as Jake says in Sweet Home Alabama: "Who says you can't have roots and wings?"