Growing up, I did not like where I lived. I’m from Naples, FL, which is a tourist town that doubles as a retirement home. In addition to the large elderly population, “snowbirds” – the old people who still live up north, but travel south for the winter months – start rolling in around November to inhabit their part-time residences and flood the streets with their expensive vehicles and horrendous driving skills.
However, now that I’ve had the chance to live elsewhere for a year, I have recently been able to see the beauty of my hometown.
Learning to love where you’ve grown up may seem impossible, but if you consider the following, you may be able to appreciate the town you’re from.
Take the people from your high school out of the picture.
The kids you grew up with and the people that surround you at school can get quite irritating after 12 years of classes together. When I hear people talk about where they grew up, they will often mention that they don’t like the people that live there and whom they grew up around. If you take these people out of the picture when thinking of your hometown, you’ll be able to better see the town for what it is and without the shadow of the other residents.
Try to imagine why people want to live there.
When you think there is nothing great about where you grew up, it helps to imagine why people would want to live there in the first place. For example, my hometown is a very touristy town by the beach. Understanding that people desire this location for its paradisiacal qualities has helped me to appreciate the beauty of where I lived.
Think about the experiences you’ve had that shape who you are today.
I know, this is a tough one. It’s especially hard for me to see the struggles I went through in high school as experiences that are beneficial to my overall growth. It is so important to remember that the struggles you’ve faced in your life have ultimately brought you to be the person you are today.
Realize that this town is your home.
Though it may not be your favorite place on earth, your hometown is your home. There is so much value in a place that you feel comfortable and fully yourself. Try not to discount the love that is waiting for you every time you go home.