The photo above shows me, obviously way too happy, smiling and holding a candy apple and bag of cotton candy after witnessing the great Goo Goo Dolls perform at the Iowa State Fair Grandstands. Although yes, downing the apple and cotton candy on the walk back to my car was something that made my taste buds very happy and hearing my all time favorite band play live on what was sure to be their last tour made my smile spread from ear to ear, that is not necessarily what caused this overwhelming joy. Being an Iowan is what caused this overwhelming joy.
It took me a long time to fully appreciate the state that I grew up in. I always had dreams of moving to California or Florida and making it big but as I grew older and thought about where I wanted to go to school, I found myself drawn to the MidWest. Although I am leaving Iowa and moving a few hours south to Missouri, I take comfort in knowing that I was so lucky to have been raised where I was.
While I might be a little biased, I feel that although it is apart of the MidWest, Iowa is set apart from the rest of the fly-over-states. There is a reason the world looks to Iowans to remind them of what used to be the All-American dream. Iowa is a place where people wave back at you on the street and if you can get a smile out of them, they will more than likely have teeth. A place where people are kind enough to actually let you in the mile long line of state fair traffic. A place where I learned that you could become successful with out becoming something you are not and stepping over people.
Growing up in Des Moines may have been an even bigger blessing. You could get the simple, yet fancy, night downtown and minutes later be in the middle of nowhere out on a back road looking up to see nothing but stars. The best of both worlds.
I will miss Iowa and although I have dreams of traveling the world, someday I will return. As I go through the next few years of my life and make a name for myself, I will never forget where I came from. Iowa’s state motto says, “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” We, as Americans, have a right to remove ourself from the false pressures of society and to be free to live our lives the way want to. Iowans have not forgotten that. For that I thank them and will carry that truth so that someday, maybe, my kids can thank Iowa too.
“I’m from Iowa, we don’t know what cool is!” – Ashton Kutcher