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Livin' la Vida Lacy - I'm proud to be a McMinnville native
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Westwood is a magical little neighborhood. I’m genuinely smitten. A lady from Chicago even came into editorial today bragging about the beauty of it.

I believe it has something to do with the sweet, well-tended homes near the river surrounded by foliage. I particularly adore seeing kiddos enjoying a family stroll down the street, waving in recognition as neighbors pass by and seeing pets laying lazily in their owner’s big yards. These things just weren’t a part of condo living for us in Cookeville.

There’s also something humbling about the simplicity here. I really don’t understand the big city mentality. Why do some people feel like their social status is elevated because they live in places like Nashville, Brentwood or Franklin? Don’t get me wrong, small town life isn’t for everyone. Just don't knock my town because you think it doesn’t measure up to your city slicker lifestyle.

I’ve lived in Nashville and I still visit regularly so I’m well aware that there are more food options, more retail stores and more to do. You know what else it has -  more people, more traffic and a higher cost of living. So see, there are pros and cons no matter where you chose to reside.

When I reflect on why I love living here, it’s really because of the people - friends, family and an easy sense of community. I used to hate that everybody knows everybody, but I remember feeling lonely in Nashville as I worked on completing my degree.

Now that I’m back in McMinnville, I get to stop by Grandma’s occasionally for lunch, accept a dinner invite from my mother-in-law Lisa and have fixed dinner dates on Tuesday with Dwight and Nicole. Ross and I can now set fitness goals (that we’ll keep) and workout with my Uncle Marc and Aunt Melinda. I’m so excited to establish a gym family here.

As someone striving to pursue a healthy lifestyle, I enjoy swinging by Depot Bottom Country Store for a chef salad or getting a Green Goddess juice with some veggie soup from Juicy’s Wellness Café. Still, the best part is the quick chat with my friend India or the Young family as I wait for my lunch.

I know what you’re thinking, “Sheesh, once you’ve been back awhile, you’ll be whistling another tune.” You’re not entirely wrong. As I mentioned before, there are cons, but for me, the pros heavily outweigh them. (Side note: If you haven’t seen the promo video on Visit McMinnville, TN Facebook page, go watch it for a little McMinnville pride boost.)

It’s all about perception. Maybe you’re feeling like the chorus to “Wide Open Spaces” (which is a Dixie Chicks classic).

“She needs wide open spaces
 Room to make her big mistakes
 She needs new faces…”

When you’re feeling this way, try to reflect on the positives. Maybe you’re like me and your dreams shifted, don’t let other people’s varied definitions of success belittle your happiness. Just look for the simple joys, stop comparing yourself to the fallacies of Instagram and let yourself be happy!

Standard reporter Lacy Garrison can be reached at 473-2191.