Top 5 Reasons to Leave a Small Town (or at the very least abandon small town mentality)

I love my small town. I love that my children can roam freely and take comfort in knowing that someone knows them on sight and will look out for them. I love it because I grew up there and the people I love the most still live there. I love it because most of my great memories and dreams have foundation on Oak St, and at Silver Park.  I love it so much that I only live 45 minutes away. In all of my love, adoration, nostalgia, and on two occasions the need to return home, I am always reminded of why I had to leave.

 Crabs in a Barrel Mentality

A syndrome where a group of like situated people hurt those in their community attempting to get ahead.

Often this is applied to people in an impoverished community where one person is starting to get ahead. The collective community becomes jealous or filled with a sense of self-loathing, so they find a way to pull that person back down to the community’s level.

When harvesting crab, the crab as a group will pull down any crab that starts to climb out of the barrel in an attempt to be the first out of the barrel that holds them in, hence crabs-in-a-barrel. (©1999-2013 Urban Dictionary)


A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble, or controversy (TheFreeDictionary)

When a small town has absolutely nothing to offer it is troubling to see people wallowing in the acceptance of nothing. Self-satisfaction should only be rooted in accomplishment. I could write chapters about this but I get the feeling I would be talking to self.


Boredom festered insensitivity is the reason for this piece but I will set that aside for the time being.

I see this all too often. When all a town has to offer are feeble attempts at night life, inconsistent family activities, 1 Wal-Mart, and no real direction the only thing left to do is people watch. This begins a vicious cycle.

Boredom. Nosiness. Gossiping. Drama, Repeat.

Repeat in this cycle is INSANITY.


Expansion of the Dating Pool 

If your child is having a birthday party and 1/4 of the other children are their half-siblings, it is time to take leave from small town living.

I will never forget that on one rare occasion when I ventured out of my cave to “kick it” with my mother and sister; I realized out of a group of 8 women, my sister, mother, and I were the only ones without children fathered by the same individual.

Hate me for it if you will, but a small town leaves too much room for error. I am specifically referring to incest and the drama caused when individuals share a sexual partner.


The Desire to Broaden Your Horizons

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles taught me one thing; Home is home, if there is a need or longing to be there you will find a way. Leaving does not always equate abandonment.

Take a look around (especially important if raising children) and ask these questions.

1. How is the job market?

2. Is this environment physically and mentally conducive becoming an upstanding citizen?

3. Will anything change or be affected by your escape move?

I cringe when I hear one of my family members referring to something outside of their customary 15 minute drive as “far”. I hear hopelessness and despair and the acceptance that so much more is unattainable.

Admittedly I haven’t spread my wings much. I get too homesick and needy but even if it is a mere 45 minutes away, it is AWAY.


3 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons to Leave a Small Town (or at the very least abandon small town mentality)

  1. Very nice article Heather. I have moved away from Alliance or should I say Ohio all together. I actually love it. Keep up the great articles. I enjoy reading from someone I actually know.

  2. How about cities with a small town mentality? I’m living in one where they don’t know how to react to an educated, intelligent, well-traveled Black woman.

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