Ever since I was adopted at the age of six weeks old, I've lived in Olympia, Washington in the beautiful Pacific Northwest! Being raised in a hippie town wasn't a choice of mine, but I'm so glad I was able to live in such a peace oriented, social justice loving, farm-to-table supporting place. Olympia has taught me many lessons, but these are the ones I'm taking with me:
1. NEVER BACK DOWN FROM WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN
In Olympia, Washington, the residents never back down from what they believe in. They are strong, resilient and passionate individuals who fight for a cause that they truly believe in (whatever that cause may be). Olympia consistently reminds me that my values and beliefs do matter and I deserve to have them heard by others.
2. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
When we speak about compassion, we mean it in our town. For the most part, we are loving, compassionate beings who value the autonomy and individuality of our neighbors and greatest co-inhabitants. Lovers of The Beatles and all things peace and love, Olympians are driven by the belief that all we need is love and everyone is deserving of love.
3. MOTHER EARTH NEEDS OUR HELP
A city of eco-aware, driven helpers, Olympia has a culture of recycling, composting and fighting for animal/nature rights. Whether we eat organic or consume fair trade goods (or both), we all value the space we were given to live in a beautiful forested environment with kind animal souls. We understand that Mother Earth needs our help and we do what we can to help a sista out!
4. WE ARE ALL EQUAL
No matter who we are or what we believe in, we are all equal and deserving of equal opportunity. Olympians are big social justice workers and believers in equality. This equality movement has impacted my life. As soon as I joined the LGBTQ equality movement in my sophomore year of high school, I gained a second family. Now, I use my privilege to do good for others and fight for others' equality.
5. LIFE-LONG LEARNERS ARE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL
A community supporting life-long learning and alternative education programs, Olympia has a variety of schools that makes learning fun and celebrates people's unique learning styles. Not everyone learns the same and we must accommodate all fashions of learning. The value of life-long learning was instilled in me at a young age and I haven't been able to shake it since--still attending seminars, conferences and webinars to better my knowledge of my field.
6. LET IT ALL HANG OUT!
While this is moreso a playful number six, "Let it all hang out!" is in fact part of my soon-to-be alma mater's "fight song" that we sing at every graduation ceremony and large college event. "Omani extras," in Latin, if we're being fancy. This phrase is perfect for those of us who dance to the beat of our own drum here in Olympia, Washington (and we literally dance... really wildly... I'm totally serious!).
All of our towns teach us something unique and have something different to offer. I'd love to know what your town has taught you! Share your experience in the comments.