On Christmas, my family had a lovely get together filled with food, games and laughter. It was over much too early since many of us had to work the next day (several family members work in retail), but it was one of the best Christmases I can ever recall. A childhood friend stopped by to visit after being away at college for several years, and it was lovely to see her, too.
This young woman was a friend of my sister’s, and is about six years or so younger than me, so she’s in her early twenties right now. She looked sophisticated and festive, and when she talked she reminded me so much of how I spoke and thought at her age, or perhaps a little younger.
She mentioned how there are women at her place of work who think they are better than everyone else, and she remarked, “Really? You’re from X county!” meaning, of course, our county. I had to laugh; I’ve said the same thing so many times about different people in my life as well.
What I didn’t say, though—because it would have been condescending; I would have rolled my eyes at that age myself—is that your birthplace matters far less than you think. I wonder if anyone ever told Oprah or Gandhi or Mother Theresa or JK Rowling, “Really? You’re from X county!” when they attempted to do anything huge in their lifetimes.
We don’t think about this when we grow up. We think about leaving this “hick town” or “one horse town” or whatever you call where you came from, and we think we’ll never be back. We think that nobody ever amounted to anything in our town, and we’re probably wrong. Look at all of the firefighters, teachers, doctors, lawyers, mothers and fathers in your town—they all surely mean the world to someone. I don’t think Gandhi or Mother Theresa came from New York or Los Angeles, either.
I like that I know this now. I wish I had known it sooner, but there’s no way in hell a teenager would believe such sentiments! I wonder if there’s a way to help young people see that it doesn’t matter where you’re from as long as you be an authentic, kind person who follows your heart and your dreams.
Of course, as for those broads giving my friend some trouble—well, a little humility does go a long way!