Six things to appreciate in 2018
I am dedicating this blog to the New Year, following the tradition of resolutions. Although, instead of resolutions, I thought of some “appreciations.”
The same concept applies. It is a pledge to be more positive and enjoy the world around you. The “appreciations” I’ve come up with are simple and things that can benefit us all.
Appreciate your neighborhood
My sister lives on Lincoln Blvd. I live on Roosevelt St. In 2016, I had my family over for Halloween. We took about a dozen children trick-or-treating around the quiet neighborhood and it was surprising how few children we saw and how few homes participated. Of the homes we stopped at, I enjoyed seeing my neighbors faces and chatting with them.
This year, my sister hosted and we all went to her house for Halloween. Again, we took about a dozen children trick-or-treating and it was so busy on Lincoln St. and Stephenson St. that it was a dangerous environment. I saw vehicles pull up and drop a loads of children off and drive away. These weren’t neighborhood kids, these were children who were enjoying the holiday’s tradition in some else’s (like us) neighborhood.
Both options seem fine with the neighbors who hosted but what if enjoyed our neighbors for fun holidays and in everyday life? We all could certainly benefit from having a good relationship with the people who live so close to us. We could help make our neighborhoods safer this way, by working together and getting to know each other. I plan to stay on Roosevelt for Halloween in 2018.
Appreciate our heroes
I get teased because I often say on social media that, in Freeport, we have the best police, fire, and EMS force in the state. I’m not just saying that to earn brownie points, I really believe it. I feel that way because of the city council meetings I’ve sat at and watched them be presented with state and national awards for doing courageous things most people don’t know about. I feel that way because I’ve been in emergency situations and had them save family member’s lives. I feel that way because I know that with a decreasing budget, high expectations, and with a loving and worried family at home, they still manage to keep more than 25,000 of us safe and they do that by putting our lives before their own. Next year, I vow to appreciate our heroes more.
Appreciate things you don’t know
It is almost impossible not to see something on social media or over hear a story from a friend and immediately form an opinion about it. Isn’t it silly? We’re adults. We understand there are three sides to every story: his; hers; and the truth. We also understand that many factors like how you were raised and the kind of life you live, determines your perception of the world. However, we are all still very judgmental of things we don’t fully understand. I pledge to appreciate there are things I don’t know and reserve my judgment.
I’ve spent several years working with artists on various projects in downtown Freeport. My vendor list has grown to over 100 artists, crafters, growers, and musicians. Our area is very rich in talent. When we support them, we support a unique community that is more vibrant and interesting. I’d like to think my support of area artists is already pretty good but there is always room for improvement. So with that, I will focus on appreciating them more in the coming year.
I work with business owners who start their day at 4 a.m. and don’t get home to their families until after dinner. When they are home, they are paying bills, answering emails, filling orders, and so on. For most, it’s a passion. They love serving their community by offering the products and services they believe in. Local small businesses make up a large portion of our job pool. They put the money they earn back into the community. Appreciating and supporting them more is a win-win for us all.
I wish our young people realized what a special town they live in. The people, recreation, events, safety, caring educators, history, close proximity to large cities, among many other things. However, they are a product of their raising. If all they see online is negativity about their city and they hear bad things about it at home, they will grow up thinking the same things. It really is a shame. The wonderfully talented kids being raised here, who could be the bright future of Freeport, are leaving and often never looking back.
There are certainly other opportunities outside our community and children who have other dreams to chase and to them I say, “make Freeport proud!” But let us not forget the future of Freeport depends on the talented people who live here. Let’s create a “city positive” environment for our future leaders so that our future is brighter for us all.