Lately our small town has taken some serious hits. We have lost some jobs and some important businesses. We have some hollow spots and there is a lot to be done.
I keep reminding myself that it isn’t Amherst that is experiencing this, it is small towns all across North America. Staying positive and hopeful takes work. It is a choice. Staying hopeful is much easier when you are doing something about it. When you contribute and choose to be engaged you automatically surround yourself with other people who are also engaged and lively. This squeezes out some of the negativity.
Do not get me wrong. When you hear people complain and whine about government continually and focus on what is wrong in a community it affects you. Even the most hopeful and engaged citizens sometimes need to sit in a room and vent to each other like I did today with another usually positive friend. We ranted. And rants are good as long as after the rant you get back to work to do something about what you ranted about.
Otherwise the rant just needs to stop. Shut it down, sister, pack it up brother. I am tired of listening to it. Enough is enough. I want to make things better one sweet little thing at a time.
I have had enough of the ranting and whining about what our community has lost. Don’t tell me anymore about what we lost.Start talking to me about what we could gain. Listing the businesses that have folded is not as helpful as listing the businesses that have started or still exist. If you want me to listen start talking to me about how to make the best of what we have. Tell me what you are going to do tomorrow, next week, next year to make your community a better place to live.
We are not alone. Communities across the continent have lost jobs. Populations in lots of places are aging. People from across North America will read this blog post and it will all sound familiar to them.
If you want a good community you have to be part of the solution. Recently a woman who was considering moving here wrote me a note to see what I thought of the place because she had read something on Facebook that was negative about the town. It really made me see how negativity spreads like a virus. She may or may not ever move here but wouldn’t it be a shame
for all of us who are working hard here if she did not because of something negative said on fb? What if she , the potential citizen was part of the solution for the community but because people were spreading negativity posts and comments she changed her mind? It happens all the time. We lose out because of our negative attitudes and outlook.
I am not a pollyanna. I run two businesses in a downtown that has been struggling for at least twenty five years. Together they employ 14 people part time and full time. I know that if we want our community to flourish we need to turn our focus away from what we had and towards what we have, and onwards to what we could have.
Just because you take a hit does not mean you have to go looking for another one.
Change is constant and real. Because this is our time and place it feels really personal but these kinds of changes have always happened in small towns and they will continue to.
As a community member I know that this town is full of strong minded , hardworking people who care about their community and those are the people I choose to believe in.
I choose to plant geraniums outside my door.
I choose to continue to try and make things better.
What do you choose?