I spent the first 17 years of my life on a farm, the next 5 in a small college town, the last 13 in a city with millions, and I recently returned to live in the town of my alma mater.
I love the bright lights of a big city more than I can possibly share. No, seriously. You can keep the suburbs; give me downtown any day. So it came as a bit of a surprise when I recently realized how much I’ve enjoyed small town living again.
As a single girl in a town of less than 25,000 people, I’m highly outnumbered by married people. In fact, if one of my best friends wasn’t here in the same town, my closest single friend would be 30 minutes away. And we won’t even get into the fact that, as far as my people are aware, there are only 2 single men in the whole town.
So before the novelty completely fades away and I start buying back into that whole “grass is greener in the big city” idea, I find myself needing to document why life as a single adult in a small town has its own advantages.
Because right now, for me, they’re both on a level playing field. (Something I never thought I’d see myself type.)
Let me also add that I realize this list is not single-exclusive—meaning some of the reasons I give could also be extolled as the virtues of small town living for couples or families, too. However, I’m single and our primary audience is single, so…yeah.
1. It’s cheaper.
Yes the cost of living is cheaper—although, the difference is not nearly as significant as I thought it would be—but when I count my extra pennies and nickels, it’s not as much about the price of rent as it is one thing: Super Target. I left a land where there was a Super Target in every corner of the city. Now, the closest Target is 30 minutes away, and it’s not even “super.” It’s amazing how much extra scratch a girl is able to put away when she can’t pop in and out of her favorite store on a regular basis. Sure, I could order stuff online, but that requires me to wait and waiting requires me to decide if I really need it which, in turn, leads me back to extra pennies and nickels in my wallet.
2. Churches are smaller and, consequently, it’s easier to get plugged in.
My church in Fort Worth had over 5,000 people. I loved everything about that church—their love for the Word, for people, for missions, for the arts, for worship, everything—but it was hard finding my place. The church I attend now has about 300 people. It’s not the largest church in town, but none of the churches here are anywhere near as big as the one I left. I realize that cities have small churches, too, but often singles end up in the bigger ones because of their singles ministries. So I may not have single friends at this church, but I don’t worry about finding places to serve because it’s pretty straightforward.
3. I know everyone.
Okay, maybe I don’t know everyone, but a lot more than I did in the Metroplex. I would often run into people I know around Fort Worth, but it was random and it didn’t happen every time I was out. Since I’ve moved back, I don’t think I’ve gone to one place in town without running into someone I know. Granted, I can’t really leave the house looking like a hot mess now that I live here either, but running into people often leads to my next point…
4. People make a point to include me.
I was invited to the pastor’s house for lunch the other day. I haven’t been to one of my pastors’ homes since I was in high school. One of the young adult couples asked me to come to their small group, too. I told them I would visit, but not until they finished their Song of Solomon Bible study. (#awkward) When you see the same people over and over, you can’t help but develop relationships with them. It’s not that people in the city wouldn’t have done the same thing, but in a small town, any new person is a bit more obvious. You can’t forget about me when you see me in church on Sunday morning and other times as we bump into each other around town. It’s always nice to be included no matter who you are, but especially when you’re single.
5. There are fewer distractions.
It’s not that people are less busy in small towns. They’re not. In fact, I can see many ways in which I’ve become busier. But in the city so many things, including ministries, were constantly competing for my attention. I feel like I dabbled in a lot of different ministry projects there because I was always being presented with more options, whereas here I’ve been able to settle into one particular ministry and go deep.
6. Family is nearby.
While not everyone who lives in a small town has family nearby, I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of us choose small town living for this very reason. I can join my brother’s family for dinner or check on my grandparents on the weekends. I can call my sister-in-law’s father when my car needs jumping off, and I can meet my other sister-in-law for a movie after the kids go to bed. When I was 5 hours away, I missed the luxury of more time with my family. Plus, I know for a fact my brother and sister-in-law can testify to the greatness of having Aunt Jessica on call when they need some childcare.
7. I can always find a truck.
I know I lived in Fort Worth, the city where the West began, but I could count on one hand the number of guys I knew who drove trucks. Maybe I was just friends with the wrong guys. I don’t know. But this was highly inconvenient if I needed to move or if, say, I caught a sale on furniture at World Market. But here? Here that’s not a problem. I know tons of guys with trucks. Whether or not they’ll drive over an hour to the nearest World Market and pick up said furniture? Well, that’s a different problem…
Do you live in a small town? What’s the best part, for you, about being single in a small town?
Photo credit: joits