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Thread: Stuck in a small town

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Stuck in a small town

    So I'm a 24 yr old that moved to a small town to work as a planner for just about a year now. And by small, I mean an urban population of maybe 4,000 people. I'm originally from a large city so I've been trying to adjust but I'm honestly getting sick of it. Its hard meeting new people and making friends when there is nobody my age that lives in the town and the ones that do have babies. Have I mention that live in a retirement community? Even the average age of my co-workers is maybe 55 and thats without exaggerating. Dating is definately out of the question.
    I'm also finding it difficult with the small town mentality and the lack of diversity. Have I also mentioned that I'm a visible minority?
    Maybe I'm just venting from frustration and the lack of excitement in my life. I definately need to live in a city but with my experience and the way the economy is right now, its very difficult finding another job. I'm also considering the possibility of doing a Masters just so I can move out.
    Does anyone have advice or suggestions to keep myself busy and make my life less miserable/lonely/dependent on alcohol? Or am I just a spoiled brat?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jammers View post
    So I'm a 24 yr old that moved to a small town to work as a planner for just about a year now. . . . Does anyone have advice or suggestions to keep myself busy and make my life less miserable/lonely/dependent on alcohol? Or am I just a spoiled brat?

    I do not know you but you sound like the latter.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    You are not a spoiled brat. Just keep looking and do good work. Perhaps the next step would be another small town in a metro area?

    And when you find a new place, let some of the unemployed on this know...they would like any work at this stage.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Been there. I was fortunate enough to live an hour away from a larger city where my entire social life existed. It was a hassle to drive back and forth, but it was better than the alternative.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I'm definately thankful for having a job but when you have no life in the place you live, I sometimes question whether the overwelming sense of loneliness is even worth it. I live a bit less than 3 hours from home home so I guess its not too bad. I just miss being able to have a life in a place that I actually live. But thanks for all the comments.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    hang in there. Use your current job/situation as "getting your feet wet." Pusuing a masters is not a bad idea if you are not dependant on your job/income. I can relate to you somewhat as my first job as a planner I worked for a county with approximately 19,000 people, all of whom knew each other and everything about one another, think Peyton's Place. I was an outsider and was not accepted, just looked at as a smart-ass city boy trying to make life miserable for everyone. The board of commissioners were questioned and harassed about my employment during public meetings as many citizens felt someone who grew up there could do a better job, maybe so, but since I left they have not hired anyone and have, in my opinion, digressed from any sort of civil advancement.

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    How remote is that small town? If you're in Canada, a curling club can be a great social outlet, especially in remote areas.

    I don't think your situation is one that would be limited to small towns, although it's certainly going to be more prevalent there. I had the same thing when I lived in the western suburbs of Orlando, Florida several years ago (I worked in a far western suburb). Few singles lived in the western 'burbs; a large portion of the population worked in construction, and transplants in that area tended to be from the southern US rather than the northern US. My neighbors were friendly, but I really felt like a fish out of water. Young professionals tended to live downtown and to the north. Even though I wasn't far from downtown, whenever I told someone where I lived, it was a conversation killer.

    In the US, working in a small town or remote-ish, less-than-desirable location is almost seen as a rite of passage among many young planners. Put in your three years in Scottsbluff or Dothan or Terre Haute, and then move on.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    The next town is 20 minutes down the road so its not too bad I guess. The closest town with a population of greater than 20,000 people is an hour and a half away.

    Yes, curling does sound like a great social outlet but my town is pretty much dominated by 80 yr olds including the curling rink. I definately feel like a fish out of water. The next youngest person in my apartment building is maybe 55?

    Its definately nice knowing other people have been in the same position and have made it out alive. I can't think of many other professions where in order to gain experience, one would have to start out in a small town. Interesting.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm....

    Quote Originally posted by jammers View post
    The next town is 20 minutes down the road so its not too bad I guess. The closest town with a population of greater than 20,000 people is an hour and a half away.

    Yes, curling does sound like a great social outlet but my town is pretty much dominated by 80 yr olds including the curling rink. I definately feel like a fish out of water. The next youngest person in my apartment building is maybe 55?

    Its definately nice knowing other people have been in the same position and have made it out alive. I can't think of many other professions where in order to gain experience, one would have to start out in a small town. Interesting.
    That's not cool, every time I watch the Curling on the t.v. box in Canada, there are nothing but hot red headed women between 18 and 28 Maybe Dan can find us a few worth photographs?
    Skilled Adoxographer

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    How isolated are you? I know lots of places three hours W of Toronto I can suggest. For example, if you are on or by Lake Huron, head directly to Grand Bend, a small beach town that loads up with college kids from UWO, UW and the States. If you're by Lake Erie, Leamington or Windsor will fill the bill. Likewise there has to be similar places 3 hours East, if you're three hours north, well there is always your snowshoes, and you can get a dog! Message me if you think I can help.

    I would agree that if all you know is somewhere like Tilbury, St. Thomas, or Chatham, you would go nuts, but expanding your circle a bit could do wonders. You could also be experiencing some of what you took for granted by living in a large metropolitan area. Sometimes you totally forget that most of the world does not have access to a plethora of dining, cultural, and entertainment options. Its only when you get into diverse metros like you find in the Americas that you get this. While the rest of the world is catching up, they are not at our level yet, and in many cases they do not want to be (could you imagine Paris, London, or Tokyo being as diverse as Toronto, New York, or even Detroit?) didn't think so.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  11. #11
         
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    jammers, I can relate completely to your circumstances as I am a 24 year old planner in a rural centre in Southwestern Ontario. I can definitely reinforce the "every girl your age is pushing a carriage" statement wholeheartedly.

    I found a lot of solitude joining a golf league, hockey league,and beach volleyball league as well as joining a gym. It's difficult to venture outside of your comfort zone in terms of social interaction but in order to not go crazy during the week (I usually retreat on weekends) you have to find some sort of social network to get involved in. The visible minority issue I can't help you with, but like the others wrote, just put in your time, pay your dues and move on to bigger and better things in a year or two.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Maybe living in Booneville is what I deserved to realize what I've taken for granted living in Toronto all my life. I've joined a gym. Definately helps with being productive. What town do you work for, ggilber?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ahh.....

    Come on....I'm still waiting for those pictures of the hot red headed Curlers
    Skilled Adoxographer

  14. #14
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    I would suggest some extracurricular activities. If you like alcohol then learn how to brew beer. It is easy and you'll make lots of friends quickly. You can also get hooked into a network of other brewers through brew stores and forums. Travel to beer festivals then becomes a must

    What else? Coach a team or get involved with the local school. There are usually young teachers and nurses everywhere b/c these are entry level positions that are always in need. You could always swallow your atheism and attend church/temple/mosque. This is the way all our ancestors most likely met their mates.

    Good luck, I hope you find some things to make your life more enjoyable.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Hey, are we forgetting that over a decade ago, when many of us Cyburbian old-timers found this site, we were the ones working in those remote little towns? Cyburbia became our social outlet for discussions of politics, travel, lesbians, and many other pastimes.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Through my fascination of life along country roads, I have the following advice.
    How to fit into a small town anywhere in the Great Lakes if you're a guy:

    1. Buy a collection of T-shirts with Bob Segar or Rush on them.
    2. Grow a mullet
    3. Buy a giant pickup that you can't afford, have it repo'ed, then buy a rusted sedan that you are embarassed to be seen in.
    4. Talk about going hunting or bowling.
    5. Use the term "Dude" a lot!
    6. Get yourself a very tattooed girlfriend, then go out wearing matching t-shirts with wolves howling at the moon.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  17. #17
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Through my fascination of life along country roads, I have the following advice.
    How to fit into a small town anywhere in the Great Lakes if you're a guy:

    1. Buy a collection of T-shirts with Bob Segar or Rush on them.
    2. Grow a mullet
    3. Buy a giant pickup that you can't afford, have it repo'ed, then buy a rusted sedan that you are embarassed to be seen in.
    4. Talk about going hunting or bowling.
    5. Use the term "Dude" a lot!
    6. Get yourself a very tattooed girlfriend, then go out wearing matching t-shirts with wolves howling at the moon.
    Holy crap, you just described an entire branch of the extended TexanOkie clan who still lives in exurban Chicago (SE Wisconsin and N Indiana - the ones actually in IL seem to be "normal" suburbanites). Luckily my youngest cousin enlisted in the Navy and recently married a speech pathologist from Milwaukee.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian kltoomians's avatar
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    I'm currently in a small town away from bf, family, friends, my dogs...I was laid off and took the only job offer I had. I just try to think of it like I'm at rural planning school...and I'm living in a dorm I live in a converted motel up the street from work...so it's a little studio with a kitchenette. It's not easy. I visit as often as I can (450mi or 6hr drive). I also use the webcam to chat with my bf and see my puppies. The hardest part of a new job is you can't touch your vacation or sick pay for 6 months!!! I'm earning comp time by coming early, staying late, or taking a short lunch (earning time and a half). I have to rack some up for the holidays. I also tell myself, "This is only temporary!"

    I'm now bracing for snow...which is a new thing for me (huh? shoe cleats?). On the upside, the small towns have a lot of cute things...like tree lighting, Christmas decorations, and homecoming parades on Main St. Quaint... but I'm definitely a city/urban girl. Good luck!

  19. #19
         
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    I work for a small, yet efficient private firm in the Municipality of Chatham Kent. I guess that takes the anonymity out of it. Kind of hard to coach a team working till 5 every day. I'm a big football guy and would LOVE to get involved with a high school football team to kill some time but that is not possible.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by kltoomians View post
    I'm currently in a small town away from bf, family, friends, my dogs...I was laid off and took the only job offer I had. I just try to think of it like I'm at rural planning school...and I'm living in a dorm I live in a converted motel up the street from work...so it's a little studio with a kitchenette. It's not easy. I visit as often as I can (450mi or 6hr drive). I also use the webcam to chat with my bf and see my puppies. The hardest part of a new job is you can't touch your vacation or sick pay for 6 months!!! I'm earning comp time by coming early, staying late, or taking a short lunch (earning time and a half). I have to rack some up for the holidays. I also tell myself, "This is only temporary!"

    I'm now bracing for snow...which is a new thing for me (huh? shoe cleats?). On the upside, the small towns have a lot of cute things...like tree lighting, Christmas decorations, and homecoming parades on Main St. Quaint... but I'm definitely a city/urban girl. Good luck!
    Wow kltoomians, sounds very much like my situation although you may have it worse off...and the snow here is brutal during the winter as well. I feel like a shut in or prisoner. Yay for small towns. And good luck to you as well!

  21. #21
    Cyburbian joshking2's avatar
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    Small town life

    Quote Originally posted by jammers View post
    So I'm a 24 yr old that moved to a small town to work as a planner for just about a year now. And by small, I mean an urban population of maybe 4,000 people. I'm originally from a large city so I've been trying to adjust but I'm honestly getting sick of it. Its hard meeting new people and making friends when there is nobody my age that lives in the town and the ones that do have babies. Have I mention that live in a retirement community? Even the average age of my co-workers is maybe 55 and thats without exaggerating. Dating is definately out of the question.
    I
    I moved from the Buffalo-Niagara area gave up my cushy Kenmore (APA Top 10 places to live) Elmwood Ave (Again top 10) existence and moved to the set of "Deliverance" for my first planning job. I am very thankful for having it but I feel your pain. Over 50% of this area is over 55, and I swear the other 49 3/4% live in single wides with 5 children. Just keep trying! It took me forever but I have made a few friends and don't have to travel the 1.5+ hours to the city.

  22. #22
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    Small Towns

    I live in a small town, and it does suck like that, even though most of the time I love it. I would get involved in as many activities as possible that are offered, and be friendly to people, maintain an open mind. Also I have found sometimes you have to plan activities if you want to have them, which is a wonderful opportunity, when you live in a big city everything is already done. I live in a town of like 2000, there wasn't any sports or much going on, even though they had softball fields, so I started a softball league thinking maybe 4 teams, 12 teams over 200 people signed up, 3 years later we are up to almost 400, turns out there was a lot of other people needing something to do and I met a lot of people. Maybe there's something your interested in you could start?

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by joshking2 View post
    I moved from the Buffalo-Niagara area gave up my cushy Kenmore (APA Top 10 places to live) Elmwood Ave (Again top 10) existence and moved to the set of "Deliverance" for my first planning job. I am very thankful for having it but I feel your pain. Over 50% of this area is over 55, and I swear the other 49 3/4% live in single wides with 5 children. Just keep trying! It took me forever but I have made a few friends and don't have to travel the 1.5+ hours to the city.
    LOL, I better count my blessings. My town reminds me of an episode of Maury but I'd rather take Maury instead of Deliverance any day!

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