When you have to drive an hour to work in the morning and another hour to get home at the end of the day, you become highly dependent upon your radio. Or in my case, Spotify.
For my commute this particular morning, I chose to venture through Jason Aldean’s albums. I have a favorite song: “Church Pew or Bar Stool.” For those of you who do not know, this song is basically about a person who lives somewhere that he doesn’t fit in – a “church pew or bar stool kind of town.” The metaphor of the “church pew” part of the town represents those who live a very strict, by the book type of life while the “bar stool” representation describes the people who spend most of their time conversing with the local bar tender. Jason doesn’t quite fall into either one of these categories, looking for something bigger, and he seems to be battling with himself and his choice to stay in this “church pew or bar stool” town.
It’s my favorite song because I identify with him. There are a lot of times when I feel as though I do not fit into any category of people with whom I share my community and there are times when I really wonder if my dreams are going to come true here. I have friends and family, and people I choose to spend my time with, sure. But in regards to a general connectedness where we have common goals, ideas about life, interests and relationship needs, there are very few that are like me, which can be arguably, a good thing. On the plus side, I have a great job, am surrounded by family and I have time to write novels, which is really what I want to do anyway. But much like high school, not fitting in has its moments and the dullness of a quiet country life leaves much time for longing and thoughts of something bigger.
Then there is a part of the song that comes through and reminds me every time that although I may feel like I am missing some type of social interaction that I could probably get somewhere else, I am gaining something much, much more. Jason sings, “These big town dreams that I’ve been chasing/Will never come true if I wind up staying.” This has been particularly untrue for me and it’s taken this country song for me to realize it.
This small community has given me something a lot better, and a lot quicker, than any other place could give me: opportunity. In no other place would I be able to write my own column about something people are actually interested in reading, less than a year out of college. In no other place would I be asked to be involved in my community on a professional level because word gets around quick that I know how to write grants. In no other place does a conversation at the local gas station turn into an opportunity to coach a softball team, host a fundraiser or mentor a young high schooler. In no other place do you get endless opportunities to be in front of leaders within your community on a regular basis: principals at the basketball games who know you by first name; CEOs of non-profits who have a cousin that was once married to your uncle’s ex-wife’s father or something; editors of newspapers who call your dad looking for someone to write small features stories.
The key to success is the ability to create and take advantage of opportunity. And let me tell ya, that idea can be translated into any town, even the church pew or barstool kind.
Featured Image via WeHeartIt