Today was my remarkably unremarkable one-year anniversary in my small town Missouri job. Coincidentally, I’m wearing the same Columbia fleece tonight that I’m wearing in this post, written the day I moved from Brooklyn, New York back to rural Missouri last February.
In my first year back in my home state, I’ve learned…
1. That the first year is only the beginning. I came here hoping for new and great professional and personal challenges. Boy oh boy, have I met them. And as the first year ends, I’m not over the hump yet…I know that year #2 is going to teach me, mold me, and refine me even more. Bring it on, second year…I’m ready for you.
2. That you can’t romanticize the past. (See my letter to New York.)
3. That my family is rockin’. I seriously can’t imagine having parents who are any more supportive, loving and understanding than mine are.
4. That the midwest does not, contrary to popular NYC opinion, make you fat.
5. That country music ain’t so bad.
6. That a big city, overly-educated woman can learn a helluva lot from a small town, life-educated man.
7. That small town Missouri has a lot going for it. A year into this blog, I’m doing anything but running out of fodder to write about. For each new post I publish, I have ideas for several more. And my readers and twitter friends are constantly making great suggestions for places I’ve not seen or heard about yet.
8. That persistence pays off – a year ago I hoped to someday be published, so I started writing and doing photography for smalltowngirlsguide.com. Now I’m writing and doing photography regularly for two magazines, and seeing opportunities arise to either guest blog or be the subject of other people’s blogs.
9. That the great social media experiment worked – I wondered if I could use SM to minimize the geographic space between me and my friends/colleagues in other cities. Social media can’t replace real-life interactions, but it can certainly help to maintain relationships at a distance.
10. That my marketing and social media ideas for nonprofits work. A year into the first NPO job where I’ve had significant responsibility, decision-making power, and strategic influence, I’m seeing real, tangible results.
For better or for worse, it’s been one hell of a year.
To anyone who’s venturing out into a new endeavor, making a life change, or seeking the courage to try a new path, consider yourself encouraged. My first year in Missouri has brought every challenge and opportunity I had hoped that it would…and more. Much, much more. But the first year is only the beginning.
Take chances. Make the harder decision. Challenge yourself. It’ll be worth it, I promise.