You know you live in a small town when…

Living in a small town can have its advantages and boy, it can surely have its disadvantages. I moved from a sprawling metropolis of about 1 million people to a slower-paced, semi-rural small bedroom community. It was as if I’d moved into my very own Cheers sitcom; where everybody knows your name…literally. If you’ve never lived in a small town or maybe you grew up in one, here are few ways to recognize what sets small towns apart from the big cities.

Courtesy: jaybarrymore.com
  • “Where do you live?”

Small towns and cities often don’t have defined subdivisions and neighborhoods. So, when I moved into my new place, I knew that if anyone asked where I lived, then I could easily tell them the general vicinity. If only it was that easy. If anyone ever asks where do you live in a small town, what they’re really asking is for the satellite coordinates AKA the exact address. Imagine my perplexed look. No one would ever ask that in the big city.

[Improve the look of your home’s address]

  • The rumor mill

Before Facebook, rumors passed around by way of person to person or by phone. News travels fast but now that Internet technology is growing at such a swift pace, it’s no wonder fights, arguments and breakups occur so frequently. New social media platforms are springing up almost daily and you can find out more juicy gossip than you bargained for.

  • Six degrees of separation

Six degrees of separation is the idea that each person is connected or related to one another by six or less steps. I swear everybody in small towns is related one way or another. A friend of mine was a native to the area, but it seemed that everywhere we went, he ran into a new relative; third-generation-first-removed-distant-cousin-to-a sister’s-brother-uncle-who-moved-away-about 20 years ago. Whew! Dating must be challenging. I’m more than sure meeting the family is a doozy.

  • Love Connection

And, speaking of dating. That pool is pretty slim. Finding available bachelors and bachelorettes is challenging. The married couples are the “lucky” ones, because they likely met during junior high school and just never parted. As for the rest of the single folks, it’s a case of musical chairs. Who’s left standing? Either he/she is your relative, has left a trail of broken hearts, dated your best friend or comes with too much baggage.

e-vites by phone

  • You’re invited

I remember getting my first invitation to a wedding. No, not on pretty stationery or by a professional, online e-vite. It was a group text from a friend. I didn’t even know the couple, but according to the rumor mill, it was to be the wedding of the century and everybody was invited. If you were a friend of a friend who knew the bride or groom, then you were more than welcome to attend. I didn’t feel right, but I went anyway. And, to ease my conscience, I even bought a gift for the beautiful, unknown couple.

[Invite your wedding guests in style]

weekenders

  • Weekend watering hole

If you’re a homebody, then wrapped up in a blanket on a couch watching your favorite Netflix movie is probably what you look forward to every Saturday night. But, unlike many others who like a little adventure on the weekend, you might find the rest of the crowd at one or all of the few bars open in town. Want to do a bar crawl? Well, I can guarantee that it’ll take less than an hour to travel to all the bars in a ten-mile radius.

  • Rivalries

Schools are plentiful and rivals run deep. And, these rivals can break up families and can cause political conflicts among candidates. Pitting your allegiance to one school over another is cause for an influx in bumper stickers, yard signs and a barrage of bragging rights within the booster club population. Tread lightly when cheering for your favorite school. It’s like gang wars; southside soccer moms, west end sideline football dads and uptown band nerd parents. As the teens say, “they go hard in the paint.”

 

Although residing in a small community comes with a number of quirks, it also offer a uniqueness all its own and it has made my experience a memorable one. I can never get enough of the family-friendly environment a small town community offers, I still enjoy the friendly waves from passersby, my neighbors are more like family than strangers, knowing my area’s public officials by first name is a plus and where else can you shop, pay bills, drop-off kids, get pampered, go to work and pick up mail all in five miles or less. #ibedamned

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Ten ways single women can successfully navigate 2017

If anyone has ever told you that New Year’s Day was just another day, don’t believe them. The new year is symbolic of a renewal; like refurbishing an old cell phone. Same phone, new look and functions more proficiently. It’s out with the old and in with the new.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t quite ready. Before I knew it, reality had hit and the Times Square ball was about to drop. But, you still have time to get your ducks in your row. As a single, professional woman, life doesn’t stop. But, take a moment for yourself. Here are 10 ways to easily and successfully navigate the new year:

vision-board

  • Write the vision and make it plain.

Create a vision board or a vision journal. Envision your life the way you desire it. One way to fulfill your vision board/journal is to grab a few magazines and cut out phrases or photos that encompass the life and lifestyle you want and paste the images to a poster. It should be strategically placed in an area of your home and serve as a constant motivation.

friends-break-up

  • Sever bad relationships/friendships.

One of the best ways to be a success is to remove people that offer negative influence in your life. Just like old jeans, you can grow out of relationships that no longer offer room for growth. Surround yourself with other successful people. As they say, birds of a feather flock together. That motto remains true.

memory-jar

  • Create a memory jar.

This is a relatively new idea that surfaced on social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest. It’s a great way to chronicle your accomplishments throughout the year. Anytime you attain a goal or create a special memory, write it down, put it in a bottle and by December 31st or January 1st, collect all the messages and revisit all your highs from the year.

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  • Commit to an exercise regimen.

Typically, the first resolution most people make is to lose weight in the new year. It’s relatively easy to say, but it’s even harder to commit to the routine. With technology like exercise videos, weight loss and music apps, one could stay on track without missing a beat.

apologize

  • Make amends with someone.

I didn’t make the first move on this one, but I was relieved, impressed and grateful when a friend approached me to make amends because our friendship had gone sour. We expressed our feelings and apologized for our individual roles in nixing the friendship and managed to rekindle it. We didn’t skip a beat and picked up where we’d left off in our relationship.

smoking

  • Give up a bad habit.

Whether it be smoking or gambling, make a conscious effort to quit that bad habit, whatever it may be. There are multiple ways to quit; do your research. Some may involve therapy, hypnosis, medical treatment, practice or go cold turkey.

group

  • Network/join a women’s group.

Life isn’t all work and no play. It’s about working to improve your community or to improve self. By joining a group, you can network, make new friends and bond with a host of like-minded associates.

vacation

  • Enjoy quiet time or plunge into an adventure.

Take a vacation and unplug. Or, indulge in a staycation (stay home). The object is to disconnect from your everyday life and allow your body and brain to relax and de-stress.

save money.gif

  • Save, save, save.

It’s not as painful as you think. Save a little bit here and there or save big. Open a savings account,  join a Christmas club or invest your money. Put aside your extra change or invest your tax refund and forego purchasing unnecessary items.

bye.gif

  • Lose the number to your ex.

If you haven’t guessed it, number 10 is my favorite. It’s the one thing that’s been constant year to year and hasn’t failed me yet. Want to make a serious mark this year? Then, follow your heart, mind and these 10 easy steps. Each item offers its share of challenges, but #ibedamned it’s worth the effort in order to achieve a successful 2017.

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