Never underestimate a simple life.

I grew up in east TN playing outdoors and in the mountains because it’s where I feel like myself. My father owned a small candy store that my friends and I would always hang around so we could snag some free candy (boys being boys!)

My father ran that shop until he was 67 and they closed it after he passed away. You’re probably thinking why I didn’t take it over right? Well, I was your typical person who grew up, didn’t want to work in a small town or small business. I had my eye set on being a big shot and wearing a suit with loafers. I did just that and had a job as a top advertising guy in the big apple. I got word that my father had passed away and it hit me hard although we had not spoken for over 5 years because of some family issues that went on. It’s stupid looking back on it now and I have many regrets that we didn’t work things out or at least let it all go.

My regret overcame me and I realized that the city didn’t actually make me happy like I thought. I had memories from when I was kid and all the times I played outside without a care in the world. I decided to call an old buddy of mine that I grew up with and was still living in the same area. I asked him if the store was still there and he told me it was. A few days later I called him again and said, “What do you think about opening up the old store again and giving it a whirl?” I think he fell out of his chair knowing what I was doing now and moving back to a little town to run a candy store. But he agreed and I was out of NYC by the end of the month.

I went back, lived on my friends couch for a month until I found a place to live and we opened the business a month after that. We updated the store and really got the community involved along with attending local events and sporting games for the kids, something my dad always loved to do. I didn’t get the chance to mend things with my dad but I feel like he would be proud of me for continuing his dream and coming home.

You may be scratching your head as to why I would choose to make such a move from big shot to the simple life in TN but here’s what I have to say to you…

The rat race is not what it’s cracked up to be. There will always be someone there to replace you even when you think you’re set in your job. If you don’t have enough time to slow down and actually breathe, you’re going to live a very short life. Loafers are not all they’re cracked up to be. When you work for others, you’re accomplishing their dreams and they can let you go in a heartbeat. NYC Central Park has nothing on the hills of TN. You can literally hear God whispering in the wind.

I’m not saying either is right or wrong. What I’m saying is, what makes you truly and ultimately happy? That’s something only YOU can answer.

I Am A Mom and Pop

Conner O’Donell

see original story here. 

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photo credit: walter ezell
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