When you’ve lived in a small town most of your life, adapting to a fast-paced urban lifestyle can be difficult to accomplish. My challenge was moving from a small community in South Western Ontario to Toronto. Although there is a huge culture shock, you’ll have to learn to laugh at yourself, because you will make a lot of stupid mistakes.
1. You literally don’t know anyone.
When you lived in the middle of nowhere, you knew just about every single person you crossed paths with throughout the day. But now, you go about your day pretty silently because you probably don’t know anyone around you. Once you do start meeting people, if you happen to see them around unplanned, it’s pretty mind blowing. With millions of people living in the same area, the odds of you seeing someone you know is slim to none.
2. No one cares about you.
A little blunt but it’s actually the cool part. The people around you, do not know you. They don’t know about the train wreck relationship you had 3 years ago. They don’t know you used to have braces and acne. They have no idea who you are, where you came from, and they don’t really care either. You are free to reinvent yourself however you choose. Invigorating, right?
3. People do not seem happy. They won’t smile and they won’t wave.
In your small town, you knew everyone. You spent most outings smiling and waving to everyone you saw. Even if you really didn’t know someone, you still found yourself smiling for some reason. In a big city, that totally changes. It could be that people are less friendly or just too busy. Whatever the reason, no one talks to the people around them unless they accidentally sit on them on a subway and even then, the odds of an apology or acknowledgement of your existence are iffy at best.
4. No more leisurely drives.
When you’re in a small town, you go for drives for fun. You better find a new hobby post-relocation. It doesn’t matter if you drive, bike, walk, or use public transit. You will feel the pain of the congestion in big cities. Your commutes or errands are bound to become a stressful and tiring task and it’s a far cry from the days of cruising around with your friends.
5. Making plans is hard…and you better have a GPS on you at all times.
You will suddenly find that going out involves Google Maps and strategic planning. In small towns, you can be anywhere within 20 minutes so you could schedule your day with no problem. In a big city, you need to know where you’re going and plan your day out according to the length of time you’ll have to travel to get around. Now, you can’t go out right after work because that coffee shop your friends want to check out is 90 minutes away due to traffic, crowds, accidents, and the massiveness of the city in general.
6. You have endless options and choices to make.
In a big city, you have a million choices at your fingertips. You can have just about any variety of cuisine for dinner. You can get involved in any hobby that sparks your interest. You can meet a thousand different types of people. Everyday is an adventure if you choose to make it so and it’s fantastic. However, you’ll quickly realize that when you can choose from so many different options, it only reminds you how much you miss some of your favorite people, places, and things that will never be able to be replaced.
7. You will NEVER be on time for anything.
The truth is, it takes a while to adjust to being somewhere that is constantly bustling with people and you don’t even know where you’re even going. It won’t matter if you’re the most punctual person ever, you will struggle. You’ll get lost more than a few times, you’ll poorly plan your route, and you’ll underestimate travel times. Just keep moving, keep your head up, and eventually you’ll fit right in. (Meaning you’ll be rushing, stressing out, and cursing the crowds like everyone else. However you’ll know where you’re headed and you’ll get there with a moment to spare.)
The truth is, there are amazing aspects to both small town and big city living and everyone should try to experience both in their lifetime. But in reality, it doesn’t matter how long you stay away, you’ll never forget home.
Featured Image via Flickr.