Growing up in a small town meant learning early on that there were two kinds of people in our little city: those who were in and those who were out. Contrary to what people try to make you believe, social stigma’s are a reality. Especially in towns and cities as small as the one I grew up in. What school you went to, what church you went to, where you associated and socialized on Friday nights…all of that put you in a crowd. You were either in or out.
It was as simple as that.
And, I’m assuming, it still is.
I made it my goal at an early age to get out of that town and make my own rules in life. Be my own boss and make my own decisions as to what I could and could not do. Not to let me life be run and dictated by social propaganda. But, when college didn’t work out for me, I was sure that I was destined to live the same life that I had always feared and avoided.
When I met my husband, I was working on Plan B to get out town and make something more of myself.
Mediocrity has always scared me. The fear that one day I would look back on my life and wonder why I didn’t just go for it. Why I was afraid to do something bigger and better than anything anyone else could imagine.
The small town lifestyle is stifling and suffocating when it comes to those kinds of dreams.
Remember Sweet Home Alabama? Remember the urgency in which Melanie felt the need to get out; to do more and be more?
That’s what I struggled with. Those are the same emotions that I battled day in and day out.
Then I married to a military man. And we had a son; the most perfect gift and most beautiful blessing that anyone had ever been given. And my desire to succeed and accomplish “big” things in this world shifted a bit.
Here I was with this brand new little miracle to take care of; a blessing sent straight from heaven, no doubt. And suddenly the desire to get out of my small town seemed insignificant and unimportant. Because, I had something more important to worry about. Someone more important.
Over the last few years, I’ve found that same desire to be someone and accomplish something big coming back. But, not for the same reasons as before. We live a military life; and the chances of us ending up settled in the same small town I grew up in, are slim to none. We get to travel and see the world; move from place to place every few years.
But, I realize now that what fuels me and drives me to succeed and accomplish and do, is my family. My husband and my son. The desire to make them proud. What fuels me is watching my son watch me chase after the things I want in life; be that a career or just being the best wife and mother I can be.
Success, I’ve learned, doesn’t come from the approval of society and those around us.
It comes when we acknowledge that we are doing something we love and can find contentment in that.
Courtney Kirkland is a Southeast Alabama Writer & Designer. Since 2008, Courtney has passionately provided beautiful, intentional design to small businesses & bloggers and encouraged thousands to walk in a rich faith in any situation.