“The best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” -Theodore Roosevelt
For a while now, I’ve had an idea for an initiative that I’ve wanted to start. A movement of sorts. The problem has been finding the time. I mean, yes, I want to change the world. And when I say that, I’d don’t mean to sound like a quack. I genuinely believe that each of us has it within ourselves to make a difference. I know I want to make a difference. I think we all do. But because time is obviously an issue, I’ve been putting it off. And putting it off. Until last night, when my husband and I went out for date night, and we encountered (in multiple venues) the very thing I am looking to change. Rudeness. Unfriendliness. People cutting in line. And generally just being nasty. We talked about how Austin is changing with the influx of people moving here. And how we are encountering this more and more everyday. Because both of us were born and raised here in Austin, we know this is not the “norm.”
You see, my family, friends, and I discuss all of the time how Austin is changing. It’s growing (massively) and we all know that with growth comes change. As a 7th generation Austinite (maybe more than that, but it’s as far back as I can go) I have grown up here and love what this culture and community is all about. The Austin I grew up in had that small town, hippy, friendly, sleepy, college town feel. But I noticed that is changing. Rapidly. I notice now how folks no longer say hello. Or look each other in the eye. Everyone is in a rush to get ahead. People are rude. Unfriendly.
Now, I don’t know if that is just how things are in other parts of the country , and if those folks are just bringing what they know, and sticking with it once they get here, but I do know that it’s not how we roll down in these here parts. Does that sound Texan enough for y’all :)
Perhaps though, their way of living is even rubbing off on some of us natives. I guess maybe we figure “If we can’t beat ’em, might as well join ’em.”
I don’t know about you… but I’m not down with that. I want Austin to continue to be the friendly place, with the culture (and community) that I’ve grown up with, for the past 30 years. I want my children and their children to know the same city I’ve known.
Perhaps you might be thinking (especially if you are not native to this city) that Austin is pretty awesome in comparison to other places. You would, in fact, be absolutely right. But I want to ensure that it stays awesome. Not just awesome. Not just weird. But friendly.
As I was discussing the initiative to “Keep Austin Friendly” with my husband once again last night he initially thought it was a great idea. But then (bless him) he looked me right in the eye and said “Britney, you can’t change people. People don’t change. And nice people never win.” Now, (I think) I know him well enough to believe that he doesn’t really believe these things. While he’s always been my balance, the pessimist to my optimist, I think it was a challenge. And it certainly lit a fire under me. So….I say, game on!
That said, this isn’t just about me and what I want. This is about starting a conversation. Check out this video about starting a movement. My thoughts exactly.
I don’t want to be the crazy person dancing alone. The lone dancer. I’m certainly willing to start though….more tomorrow on how you can help.
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