Self-improvement is always worth it

“Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”

Before I share some thoughts on this wonderful quote, though, how about I share some of my week serving as the mayor of the best small town in America.

In 2020, we started a public opinion survey to see what thoughts were out there on different areas of the community. The goal was to conduct this survey every two years so we could compare over time.

At the State of the City in February, we launched the 2022 survey. Then at the end of April, we hit the print button to see what the results were on the 41 scale questions, three what do you like questions and five demographic questions.

Of the 41-question section, we had 2020 data to compare with on 38 with three being new for 2022. Of those 38, we improved on 36 of them. On a scale of 1 to 5 questions, like Seymour is a great place to raise a family, rose to an average of 3.85. Community safety grew to 3.64, and job options was the largest increase, going up 0.37 over the last two years.

Yet with all of the positives, I find myself looking at that set of three questions as a key place to improve for the next two years. To avoid writing all of today’s column on this one topic, though, I will move on and leave more for future shares.

Recently, Crossroads Senior Apartment Homes celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting. I was first introduced to this project as a member of the city council in 2017. With several areas that needed worked through, the team from Thrive Alliance knew it would not happen overnight and kept plugging away until they were able to get the building finished and opened for residents to move in.

Thank you to everyone who worked on this project from all of the different areas because without you, it would not have turned out as nice as it did. I can’t wait to see what future projects come along.

Well, I guess it is time to get back to that quote from “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.” Toward the end of the movie, Mr. Magorium, played by Dustin Hoffman, discusses his death with Miss Molly Mahoney, played by Natalie Portman. In this scene, he uses Shakespeare’s “King Lear” as the example and that after five acts, he chose to simply say “He dies” to tell the reader of King Lear’s death.

Magorium tells Mahoney “he has lived all five of his acts and that he is not asking her to be happy that he must go but that he is asking her to turn the page and continue reading and let the next story begin.”

As humans, we often get caught up in the previous stories of our lives and those around us. We sometimes forget to “keep reading.” We forget to keep moving forward and let the next story begin. This is true not just in death but in many aspects of life.

With graduation coming up, many seniors will participate in commencement, where they will hear someone tell them the definition of commencement is a start or beginning. They are not there to celebrate the closing of the previous chapter but to celebrate the start of the next chapter.

Some will head off to college. Some will join the military. Some will head out to join the workforce. Each path is a new chapter for each individual. I wish each the best of luck as they go forth, and promise you that as you write your story, it is ever-changing.

In my lifetime, I have been many things, and each has helped shape me into the person I am today. If you look around and don’t like where you are, remember you have the power within yourself to change those things you don’t like. It might not always be easy, but self-improvement is always worth it. Remember these two sentences: “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”