People move their nice middle class families to our rural community hoping to avoid the gangs and crime of the city. Depositing their unsupervised minors in our midst they merrily commute over 50 miles one way. Imagine their surprise when they find their kids addicted to drugs, or underage drinking. How does this happen? They took their kid away from every bad influence, never suspecting their kid IS the bad influence. How can you survive in a small town. Start with making a grave assessment of your financial needs. Life is cheaper in a small town. If you can afford to have one parent stay home, do it. Supervised kids do better than the unsupervised ones.

Things You Will Need

You will need the ability to entertain yourself. In the city, it is easy enough to find someone else to entertain you at any given moment. Movies are available for a small fee, restaurants abound, you can even join a gym. In the country is takes a little more personal effort. You can get a lot of movies through the mail, or sign up for satellite tv, and buy high speed internet. There are also activities specific to the country that may not even be available in the city. You can get your kids into horses, dirtbikes, and mountain bike riding.

Step 1

Having the right attitude is the first step. A person who has decided they can not be pleased, will decide everything costs too much money. They don't have space for a horse, or the money to buy skis. These are the kind of people who leave a small town after less than a year, eager to return to civilization. Many activities can be had for cheap, such as reading. Books can be purchased over the internet if your community is too small for a library. One can also subscribe to magazines and read things on-line. One can write. It requires little more than a pen and paper. It's low calorie, economical and endlessly stimulating. One can make conversation. The old Andy Griffin show, where everyone gathered at the barber shop for gossip is not so different from the way people in my small town hang at the bank.

Step 2

Step two is closely related to step one, cultivate friendliness. The city is anonymous, the country is not. Say hello to people, get to know your neighbors. Make friends. Doing things with friends can alleviate a lot of boredom. It helps you trade off sitters. If you don't want to make human friends, get a dog or a cat. The walks the dog will need will get you out of your house and on a schedule. Even if you pick a bird as your pet, the care the animal needs will give you focus.

In the country less social services are available. If you can help a neighbor by tutoring their child, or taking trash to the dump or picking up stuff at the store bonds are formed. Strong bonds make a person feel part of a community. Being aloof fosters a sense of alienation.

Step 3

If you have a religion, join a church. If you join a church, volunteer. It's how you meet people. If you don't have a religion you can probably still volunteer somewhere. I volunteered for "Meals on Wheels" which was not religious at all. We served meals to people too poor or too disabled to feed themselves. Its a nice way to meet people. If you don't have a religion you may want to consider choosing one. In many small towns, for people with children its a way to meet other families. There are often clubs you can join too, although it may take more research to find them in a small town. Follow your interests, there may be a few misses before you find a hit. For example I went to a writers' group a couple of times, before giving up because no one else was writing.

Step 4

Decide to be friendly. Say hello and hello again. Invite people over if they don't invite you. Show up on time, appropriately dressed, and clean when someone asks you somewhere. Be respectful of the established culture without divesting yourself of your personality. Show a genuine interest in others and who they are. Interactions in the city that are over in moments make a more lasting impression in a small town.

Life in a small town equals less crime, less dirt. Life in a small town means clear skies. Star gazing is fun far from the city lights. Hiking in the woods is refreshing. Building snow forts is good for kids. Having a bunch of dogs is easier in a less expensive house. The trade off is its a long drive to a cultural event. Ethic food might be a thing of the past. Life is quiet.

Tips & Warnings

You don't have to do drugs to keep yourself entertained in the country. You don't have to become an alcoholic because you are bored or lonely or emotionally lazy. You can have a wonderful life.