How can I be at peace with my newly progressive town?
September 26, 2011 1:05 PM Subscribe
I feel like I am turning into a crotchety old woman about newcomers in my town and I am only 25 years old. Help me get this chip off my shoulder.
posted by anonymous to human relations (36 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I was born and raised in a rural town. Lets call it Podunk. I lived in Podunk until I was 17, went to college at the state university, poked around in the "city" and did some traveling until I was 23, and then moved in with my parents. About a year ago I moved in with my boyfriend (from one town over) into a barn on some property my dad owns about a mile away from their house, still in Podunk. My boyfriend is a carpenter and I am enrolled in a technical program about 1.5 hrs away, which I love and I'm excited to work in the field.
I've always wanted to live and raise a family here in Podunk so that I could be close to my parents and extended family, but since I was little the town has changed a lot. A lot of people from out of state has moved in (we are close to a progressive university town) in pursuit of leading a "simple" life. The culture in the town has changed a lot. Lots of Prius cars, people who are dressed to go rock climbing when they are pushing around their kids at the grocery store, and a much more progressive vibe. It's like people want all the good stuff of living in a beautiful area, but they have the money to pay other people (like my boyfriend and my brother) to do the hard stuff like plow the driveway and build them a fancy chicken coop (mindblowing what people will spend money on). Sure there were some wealthy people around when I was growing up, but the vast majority of people were very middle class and we all got our clothes at sears, were driven around in old trucks, and the town was predominately Republican/Independant (note: this is just an observation, I myself am a democrat).
As a result, its now much more expensive to buy property in town and I'm not sure if we can afford to buy land here to build a house like I've always wanted to. My parents or uncle would sell me some of their land for cheap but now I don't know if I even want to raise a family in this town.
I feel guilty and like a brat for thinking this. I know that people can move wherever they want to, and they aren't bad people just because they have a lot of money and are from out of state. In fact a lot of them are nice! It's just a different culture and I feel kind of like an outsider in my own hometown. A lot of the people I grew up with either went to college and are staying in their cities, or are moving farther into the boondocks where its cheaper. I feel like my kids would have a lot more opportunities growing up here in Podunk than I did, which is great, but I don't know if I want them to be exposed to this wealth and privilege, as if it's normal and expected to have a $3,000 chicken coop or brand new subaru every year.
Since I've moved back I've had the attitude of "LOL look at the yuppies" which a lot of my friends share. It probably doesn't help that I work in the service industry in the town and cater to these people all day. I'm sick of feeling so negative. But at the same time, I'm not going to magically turn into a wealthy progressive person overnight. Of course, there are still people in town who I identify with but the overall feeling has changed, like a power shift.
So my boyfriend and I are seriously considering moving to the part of the state where my school is. It's a lot cheaper and it reminds me of where I grew up. But I also feel like (this is so cliche) I am running from progress. I want to drive around in my town and feel OK and happy and excited at the new farmers market, rather than roll my eyes and think "yuppies". It is totally draining and I feel like a crotchety old lady. I've talked about this feeling with my parents and they agree that the town has changed, but they are resigned to living here because they dont know anything else. (The one good thing is that there is a ton of remodeling work for my boyfriend). The old timers kind of make fun of the new people, which I also am uncomfortable with (although here I wrote an entire post making fun of them, too).
How can I be at peace with this situation? (Note: Please no "go travel!" answers because all my money is invested in my education right now and my boyfriend is supporting me.) I feel like I need some perspective or some humanity.