Thursday, January 1, 2009

Spare Parts and New Starts

There's something about a blank sheet of paper, newly-fallen snow that no one has yet walked on, that 'new car' smell and the feel of a newborn's skin on your fingers. And all of those feelings add up today as we begin a(nother) New Year.

We had no way of knowing this time last year how the year would play out and perhaps it's just as well we didn't know what we didn't know. Same is true again, of course, and as always so I suspect all we can do is all we can do and luck and love will have to help.

In 2008 we may have all surprised ourselves by our choice for President (I wasn't surprised but was impatient. I kept wondering what took me so long) and national and state representatives. Here in Connecticut, the Land of Steady Habits, as is probably true for where you live, we're looking at budget deficits and belt-tightening and every other cliche we can come up with for a culture that has lived beyond its means.

Norwich, Connecticut, where I live is 350 years old and I'm not sure those of us from here, and those of us who live here, are quite done being here. Yet. And while the first 350 years are probably pretty important (our city historian, Dale Plummer just blanched as he read that line, I fear), it's what we do as the next 350 start that I hope we spend more than a minute contemplating and planning.

In 2009, I believe we should promise one another to live beyond our dreams. What would happen if the notion of 'that's the best I can do' became the baseline for my efforts, in my family, in my job, in my city? If each of us worked to bring out the best and to be the best? I'm not sure we'd succeed all the time, or even half the time--and we wouldn't have to. Succeeding just once at raising the standard of excellence would set a new benchmark for our tomorrow and for every day after that.

We spent a lot of 2008 here in Norwich waiting for Godot, or someone named condo (I'm not sure anymore if they're related) and since this was a variation of what we've always done, the only ones surprised we weren't farther along seemed to be ourselves. If we keep doing what we've always done, we'll always get what we've always gotten. So much for new beginnings, eh? Might I suggest, and this would work where you live, too, we have a little less meaning well and a little more doing well.

Hope is a wonderful thing and it's right up there with Faith and Charity (I never dated the triplets but I was told they were a lot of fun), but for getting things, done, I recommend a plan and hope is NOT a plan. Here in Norwich, we'll elect a Mayor and six alderpersons to our City Council. There's already some talk in the local papers as to who will run and who will not run (and why) and none of that matters to me at all.

In the marketplace of ideas, you must be present to win and right now, on this, the first day of the new year, one person who has announced he's running for Mayor has a blueprint for economic development. I urge you to read it, and look hard at it and look as hard at the proposals that everyone else who wishes to be the next Norwich Mayor puts on the table.

The Rose City has, for too long, been living on second chances and waiting for 'next time'. At some point, those second chances become last, and then lost, opportunities. As for next time. If not now, then when? If not us, then who? Me4Z4mayor. U2?
-bill kenny

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