Put yourself in this scenario: Saturday. 6am. Coffee. Your goal is to get three things done this morning, but you woke up four hours too late to accomplish it.
When your board retreat starts at 9am, you’ve got two choices; be there, or be there and think about where you want to be. You choose option two.
It’s noon. You’re at your kids’ school. You run around the halls for an hour and a half helping the PTO get ready for a 2pm event.
It’s 1:30. Everybody is done their work and they’re waiting for people to show up. You’re sitting in a chair built for a first-grader and plugging away on an email.
Kids are running all over the place, but there’s only one kid in the hallway you’re in. He runs over, stands straight up and looks at you. He says, “What awe you doing?” You look at him silently. You’re still all heated up about your wasted day. You look back at your phone because, unlike that kid, you have stuff to do.
The kindergarten kid points at your phone. With a straight face, he asks, “What’s that?”
You stare up again – right into the kid’s eyes. He’s looking down the hall. When you look at him, he stares back at you. You let out one of those quick chest laughs that just happen. The kid shoots back the exact same laugh. A second passes and you both start dying laughing for no reason.
You get your butt out of the first-grader chair to find your kids.
Time doesn’t pass without the present – like it or not. There are plenty of opportunities to like it. A kindergartener can tell you that.
My favorite word is downright dirty. I’ve never heard it used lightly. In fact, I dare you to say it without a hard “R” and a bold gleam in your eye. Go ahead… “GRIT.”
Man, there are over a million words in the English language but they can’t… touch… “GRIT.” It’s short, it’s sharp and everybody knows what it feels like on the hands and in the heart. If you don’t know what grit is, you can forget all the other words you know because you might be breathing, but you ain’t livin’.
I have a favorite place too. It’s just as resilient and just as sharp. It gets beaten and battered, but it won’t stop getting up. People who know it best either resent it or revere it. You know what I’m talking about – 32 years a Yorker.
We grew up saying, “I don’t know what I want to do, but I know I don’t want to do it in York.” To this day I’m not sure why we said that… but I have a guess. We grew up in a town that forgot it had grit.
Grit isn’t easy. We all talk about how it would be nice if… and… how things should be… and… how they once were. When we’re done talking, we realize that we better keep talking or we’ll be expected to do something about it – so we talk. And that’s what Yorkers did – we talked.
A while ago a group of Yorkers stopped talking. They just shut up and went silent. They were downtown digging up grit.
Downtown is all grit. I’m talking about the kind that comes to the surface when people stop talking and get busy building what they can with what they have.
There are still plenty of folks who like to talk about how things should be… and what would be nice… and how things once were. They’ll keep talking. The folks downtown will keep working.
A while from now, the talkers might walk downtown – they might not. If they do, our quiet friends will wash the grit off their hands and greet them with a gleam in their eye. They’ll just say, “Welcome back.”
A relatively wise old man once told me that every ten seconds you take to explain something, you lose 10% of your audience. Since one in ten of you is about to bail, here’s what to expect out of me:
1. unapologetically optimistic thoughts about York – my hometown.
2. stuff about townies – my family and friends
3. zero complaining
Come back sometime. Only two things can happen – you’ll like it or you’ll have a go-to blog to bash. We all win either way.