I get a little frustrated when people tell me their town is dying. That’s because from my outside point of view, your town is not dying. It’s just exactly what it is now, no more or less.
To some extent, your generation determines what you think about your town and whether it’s dying. It’s not that your generation defines you. It’s that how long you’ve been around determines how much history you’ve seen, and what you’ll compare the present to.
If you’ve seen decades of the history of your town, it clouds your perspective. You want to compare today to how things were 20, 30 or 50 years ago. Even though you know we’re not going back to that, it’s hard to overcome that memory.
During your lifetime, things have changed. Technology has changed. Demographics have changed. You’ve changed.
But you still remember how it used to be. That affects how you see things today. You remember when downtown was full of traditional retail stores. When you don’t see those same stores, you may be tempted to say things like, “downtown is dying.”
You don’t see the nontraditional businesses spread all over town, where people are doing business from their laptops and smartphones. You aren’t aware of the million dollar company with no employees operating from someone’s house. You haven’t shopped at the retailers who are selling only online and shipping orders all over.
It’s not about bringing your town back. It’s about bringing your town forward.
What does that look like? We’ll talk about that next week.
Keep shaping the future of your town,
PS – Do you have trouble telling your own story and selling yourself? Of you do; you’re rural! Deb and I have been working on that, and it’s our next topic here: Stories that Sell