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LIfe Changes

I made a recent life change that contained a silver lining. It revealed that the simple way is usually the best way. It also revived a few latent talents and I discovered one I didn’t know I had.

First. Let me explain what happened. My parents are elderly, living alone, and needed some looking after. I talked to my business partners and we agreed that I could do what needed to be done with our product over the web, provided we got together on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.

So my husband and I moved. We squeezed into a smaller living situation, big city to very small town. I grew up in a small town, but after 30+ years away, the return was a little traumatic.

There were several handicaps about living in this small town that we were aware of, but since we were usually “just visiting,” we didn’t pay them much mind.

  • There is only one grocery store that carries a fairly complete line of items.

  • There are 4 gasoline stations, but 3 are owned by the same person.

  • Other than DSL, there is no fast Ethernet.

  • There is only one doctor, one clinic, and one drug store.

  • The only soft goods, such as clothing, cosmetics, grooming essentials are carried by a cut-rate supplier and selection is very limited.

  • There are less than 10 food establishments, including the local drive-ins and they all serve that same type of Texas fried or Tex-Mex food.

  • There is no cable TV. A dish is the only alternative unless you don’t mind a very limited selection of channels - about 6 provided reception is good.

  • There is no dry cleaner.

  • The atmosphere is decidedly rural, with a good dose of sustenance and a healthy gun culture with a fair share of intolerance and everybody knows everybody.

  • Boredom can be a problem.

Unless you want to drive 14 miles in one direction, or 25 in the other, you are stuck with what you can find. Even at that the selection is still pretty limited.

On the other hand –

  • There is only one stoplight.

  • Dietary decisions become simpler, because there isn’t that much to choose from.

  • There is less traffic. You can get to where you want to be in about 5 minutes.

  • There are people who have retired from a stressful, urban job to a small town. I call them “jewels”. Find them.

  • The people look out for each other.

  • You learn to entertain yourself instead of looking elsewhere.

  • You learn to make do.

My sister asked if I would come help her out at the local newspaper on a part-time basis.

I said okay. Although I grew up in a small-town newspaper publishing family, it has been a long, long time since I did that.

Although they did not print the newspaper at the local site, articles had to be written, notices and pictures taken, and advertising sold.

Computers and digital cameras have made the whole process a lot easier, but articles, notices, etc., still had to be typeset, whether by scanner equipped with optical scanner recognition of by hand. Advertising still has to be sold over the phone or in person.

I discovered that I had a knack for taking photographs. I was told, I also found I can still write a pretty fair article.

I never cared much for taking photographs, but I think I may have stumbled upon a new hobby.

As to living in a small town. It is different. But the slow pace can be wonderful after a go-go/survival of the urban landscape.

I have learned to take things a little slower and think more simplistically.

    • Break down a task into a few simple steps.

      • If you can’t get your head around the entire project, start on one or two pieces. Eventually, they will integrate into a whole.

    • Keep an eye on what you are trying to accomplish.

      • Try to visualize that big picture.

    • Factor in the parameters that will help to achieve that effect.

      • Define those parameters and represent them in a manner meaningful to the project.

    • Trust yourself enough make the best decision about what you are trying to achieve.

    • Search for the “jewels” who will enable that decision. A conversation with someone about anything just might shake loose the information you need.

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