Pros and Cons of Living in a Small Town

By Rachel Epperly

Where I come from, everyone knows pretty much everyone. My home town, Buchanan, is very secluded, small, and for the most part friendly with everyone. Sometimes being from a small town can be good because you never feel alone here, and everywhere you go you will always see someone you know. Although, when you mess up or something goes bad, it’s just the opposite.

Cons: Why Can Living in a Small Town be Challenging?

Whether it be a marriage ending, a big party, or just the talk about someone new you're dating, the town of Buchanan is bound to find out by the end of the week if not sooner. One thing that I hate about around here is that since everyone knows each other, they feel comfortable enough to gossip and no one really thinks about boundaries because they’re all so familiar with each other. Gossip is one thing that the town of Buchanan is very familiar with. If your kid is dating someone new, just ask the neighbors or around your church, and I’m sure they’ll have the scoop on them. There’s a party that just happened? I’m sure anyone in the school could give you all the details about what went on and who was there. Want to go out to eat? While you’re there you’ll see multiple familiar faces that’ll inform you on anything new they’ve heard about your kids.

One big thing about living in a small town is that everyone wants to provide their input on your relationship. In my school, when a relationship ends it only takes two days tops for people to find out. Everyone always has an opinion about what happened or just your relationships in general. People always ask why it happened, whose decision was it, and when it happened. If they can’t find out then they’ll make up something on their own. Before you know it, there’s a million different reasons why everyone thinks your relationship ended. This can be frustrating because you now have tons of different stories about what happened to your relationship when in reality it’s no where close to what people are talking about. Starting a new relationship is even worse. You could be planning to hang out with someone and before it even happens people know about it and are sharing their opinions on it.

This town is held together by the lingering secrets that people share with each other. Being from around here has been helpful for my character in some ways because I always know someone’s watching, and if they aren’t, then they’re bound to find out whatever they want to know from someone else. It has also been hurtful because everyone is scared to move under the magnifying glass of this town.

Pros: That Small Town Love

As I’ve already mentioned, when you live in a small town, everyone knows everyone. This is a great thing when people accomplish something out of the ordinary. For example, the lead singer of Old Dominion, Matthew Ramsey, grew up in Buchanan and went to James River. The support that he gets when he comes back home, and the support he gets from his hometown is amazing.

This small town life is also a refreshing place to slow down and take a break. Buchanan is a place to take a fresh breath and treasure the small things; it might be going to the Buchanan Theatre, taking a walk through town, going to the farmers market, or just riding around with the windows down. Buchanan is a good place to take a step back from your crazy lives.

One of the greatest aspects of the small town love is when the town is faced with hard times, being so close becomes really nice. In elementary school, I used to ride the bus with a friend named Trystan. Every Wednesday I would go to breakfast at North Star, a small restaurant with home-cooked meals. When my friend Mallory and I rode the bus after school, Trystan would always be hungry for a snack. I’d give him the leftovers of my breakfast from that morning, and after a few weeks, we gave him the nickname Home Fry. When I was in tenth grade, he got into a car accident and passed away. During this hard time, the whole town came together and supported each other, so this was a time that living in a small town was a good thing.

After college, I hope to come back to a town less dependent on secrets and more welcoming to mistakes, but one that still knows how to be close and come together in hard times. Buchanan has been a helpful and nice place to grow up and has taught me many things about life and myself.