Growing up, I couldn’t wait to get out of here.

Never one for seeking out trouble, by the time I turned 16, the most excitement my friends and I had was cruising up and down the main drag in our city. We’d do this for hours on a Saturday night until curfews demanded us home. Outside of playing sports and spending time with friends, I thought I lived in the most boring place on the planet.

I had my sights set on the big-city life of Chicago–still Midwest, but far enough away from home and with a lot more to offer than my low-key college town in Nebraska.

But a funny thing happened: I grew up and stayed right here in the flatland.

Out-of-state college tuition proved to be too pricey, so I enrolled in the university just a couple of miles from home. And just as life goes, I found myself planting roots in the place I had so eagerly wanted to escape.

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As it turns out, there’s a magnificent view right here in the heartland. And I created it.

I traded in dreams of fast-paced city life for a humble home with my husband and our sons.

Where I once hoped to look out my back window and see towering buildings or mountains to climb, I now see two brown-haired boys playing Hot Wheels in the grass or demanding to be chased.

And that’s not a view I’d trade for anything.

Instead of hitting the town and taking in the big-city lights, I prefer to snuggle up on the couch in my jammies watching a kid movie I’ve seen way too many times but that always makes my boys chuckle. I’d always trade the tunes of a top-rated musical for the glorious giggles of my boys.

I’ve long given up dreams of lazy Saturdays in bed for family adventures that often start at the whisper of daylight. Experiencing what our town and state has to offer through the eyes of a child has a way of renewing my soul.

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So while I’m not hopping on a plane to the hottest destination, I’m keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground and watching my sprouts grow.

Two kids outside, color photoIt’s amazing what perspective teaches us.

You may spend your youth dreaming of a life full of excitement, but by the time you’re in your 30s, you long for simple things and time to slow down.

Life on the plains may not be filled with wonderous imagery, but there are breathtaking views if you know where to look.

Kendra Perley

A mom and professional freelance writer, when not wrangling boys or typing words, Kendra has a fond appreciation of art, yoga, and humor. You can read more about her take on motherhood on her blog, The Maternal Canvas. Find her on Instagram, and Facebook.