This blog post isn’t revolutionary. I am not the only one with these frustrations. But I do think we need to talk about this more- openly, holding each other accountable.
Why isn’t there more collaboration? Why are there dozens of “what’s going on around Fort Wayne” websites or e-publications? Why are there various economic development entities all supposedly interested in the betterment of our community but refusing to work together? Why can’t we all put our heads together and make our community a better place TOGETHER? Why all the fracturing?
As of July 1, I took over as President of my Rotary Club. My club is part of a massive international organization- 1.2 million members in over 34,000 clubs worldwide- and the people involved are masters of collaboration. Through collaboration they’ve practically obliterated Polio from the face of the earth. They’ve worked with governments; they’ve worked with other aid groups. Rotary didn’t say “this is my effort.” They said “This is something that must be done and we must work together to do so.”
In March, I had the great honor of hearing our new Rotary International President speak at a training session in Kalamazoo, MI. His name is Sukuji Tanaka and he’s from Japan. He came to deliver his goals and relay his vision for our international organization. He said something that struck me so deeply it has become my compass for my year as my club’s president. But it’s more than that. It extends beyond Rotary to all things.
He said: “When we see the needs of others as more important than our own needs — when we focus our energies on a shared goal that is for the good of all — this changes everything.”
Let’s do more of this, please.
So before you launch your super website, or brand-new magazine, or start a Taco Truck (thanks for this one Alex Brown), ask yourself: Is there someone out there already doing it? Could I better serve my community by joining their team? Am I trying to reinvent the wheel? Does this benefit me or my community more?
Have you thought about joining roller derby in the past but were a) concerned about time commitment b) constrained by a tight budget c) afraid you’d get your ass kicked? You should definitely check out the new recreational league forming in September!
As many of you know, I skated for the Fort Wayne Derby Girls for 6 seasons. Roller derby is an amazing sport. It is also grueling- practices 3 to 4 times per week, travelling weekend after weekend to compete. It can be a drain on the resources and your energy. Our founder, Minx, will be starting a recreational league in September. If you’ve been hesitant to get involved in the past because of any of the reasons I listed above, I think you should check this out. A low-key, come-when-you-want-to set up awaits! Plus, it’s really good exercise.
Every so often, I discover a book that rockets to the top of “my all-time favorites.” And usually it’s unexpected. I start the book unaware of how much it’s going to change me, affect me, leave its mark. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green is such a book. A gift. A piece of work so skillfully crafted, so artistically written, it simultaneously will destroy you and uplift you. It’s a story of life, death, love, loss and healing. I don’t want to ruin the experience for you, but I do want to strongly recommend that you read it. I did so in one 6-hour sitting. Once I started, I got sucked into its vortex and could not put it down. Funny, devastating, real, cathartic in some ways, this book has left a small scar on my heart- a scar of a good kind.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
"You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world…but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices."
"I am in love with you," he said quietly. "I am. I am in love with you and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you."
"Grief does not change you, it reveals you."
"You are so busy being YOU that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are."