I have absolutely nothing against the town where I grew up. It has provided me with great memories and lasting friendships. A lot of my family and friends have stayed there over the years and greatly enjoy their lives. The others I still have contact with seem content with their decisions. I couldn't be happier for them. I always hated when someone would say, "I need to get out of Ohio". Changing our enviroment alone doesn't change our outlook on life. However, I feel people need to get out of Ohio, North Carolina or Whereverville and explore. I believe if one is going to remain in a small town indefinitely, it is healthy to venture outside of the town, surrounding suburbs, state and country by moving or traveling and begin learning about the world outside from more than what he/she learns on their plasma television.
I feel I am behind the curve in social development. My knowledge of domestic and international culture is the equivalent of an eighteen year old. I am writing to express my feeling that growing up in a sheltered environment curbed my knowledge of culture, ethnicity, geography and general street education. I realize hindsight is supposedly 20/20, but I feel my sight was blurred by the distorted image of false suburban dreams.
I flew to Las Vegas last Wednesday and naturally I had to pick up the Delta publication to read on the fight into Clark County. Despite, its desperate attempt to get customers amped to book their next flight via Delta, I found myself drawn to an article about natural and man made wonders. I felt dumb and uncultured when I realized I didn't know the majority of these structures and wonders or their geographical location. In a previous note, I expressed how important I felt my experience in Cleveland has been on my development as an adult. The years 2005-2008 merely began a major infatuation I have developed for city life and urban culture.
I believe I should have been introduced to more than a suburban existence much earlier. There is a major correlation between the lack of exploration in my upbringing and my developed appreciation for American and worldly culture. Yes, I could have been a better student and I could have took a stand for myself. However, I partially blame suburban society for stressing importance on wrong ideals, concepts and activities. (I will explore this deeper in part 2). I feel suburban parents need to stop pushing year round sports and ACT scores and start embracing self expression, exploration and acceptance.
I am not blaming anyone in particular for my regrets as a teenager and young adult. The last thing I would want to imply I blame anyone in particular for not introducing me to the world outside of Uniontown, OH and vacation America. It's my opinion, the naive vision of a suburban dream brought on by an over zealous community is a major factor in stunting my growth as an individual.
Part 2-Coming soon
Written: October 3, 2009