Warrior Words: What Wilton has taught me
I've always had trouble considering myself a true “Wiltonian.” Having moved here in seventh grade from Maryland, I can never argue which house is the best or reminisce about the horrors of youth rec basketball. Moving to a different section of the country, while hormonally transforming into a teenager, was a tumultuous experience to say the least.
When I first arrived in Wilton, everything was viciously foreign; from the lack of fast-food chains to the absence of streetlights, I was trapped in a claustrophobic bubble of unfamiliarity. Nonetheless, living in Wilton has forced me to shape my own identity, for when you live in a community whose youth unanimously declared in their yearbook that CVS is the town’s popular hangout, you don't have much of a choice but to discover your own niche.
One of the first things I noticed upon moving to Wilton is the deceptive notion that there’s nothing to do. From the lack of abundant stripmalls to more flashy forms of entertainment, such as a multilevel movie theater complex, it can seem as a ghost town to the naked eye.
Yet as I was sprinting to finish my summer reading book, I came upon a quote by Thomas Wolfe that so clearly illuminates the beauty of Wilton: “The lives of men who have to live in our great cities are so often tragically lonely [..] They are starving in the midst of abundance.”
It’s easy to become distracted with more palatable forms of mass entertainment that disguise themselves as worthy; growing up in such a small town has forced me to become closer to my community and to feign my own adventures. Adaptability is such a crucial, and often overlooked, trait to possess. Any Wilton high schooler knows that in order to have fun, you have to be willing to roll with the punches and find excitement in inconveniences, whether that be waiting in the senior lot until some sort of social cue comes your way, or just deciding to drive aimlessly, talking about whatever comes to mind with those around you. There’s something truly special in having the ability to find amusement in the plain and ordinary, to seek something exquisite in the things taken for granted. What Wilton does not provide in commercial flare, it does in character. Your hometown is not supposed to provide the story, but rather act as the background for life to play out; you are the catalyst for your own experiences.
Wilton has taught me the importance of individual relationships. There may be a sense of safety in anonymity, yet there’s something indescribably comforting in knowing that if I drive past the Dunkin’ Donuts anytime after 9 p.m., I will inevitably see someone I recognize and will gladly hold a conversation with. I cherish that I am able to walk into my English teacher’s room, even when she has class, and just exchange one look that instantly acknowledges that I will be taking a power nap in the back of the room between class periods. Or that I worked in a small coffee shop where customers are referred to by name, with one even bringing us fresh vegetables from his garden every morning. We are constantly distracted by trivialities but at the end of the day, all that matters are the relationships you’ve cultivated and the people you’ve changed.
As I begin my college applications, agonizing over broad prompts that will determine my future and define who I am in three characteristics, I will remember to give kudos to the town that helped shape me.