Many of you know that I have a connection to Detroit, Michigan. My husband Ronnie lives there and apparently plans to continue living, breathing, and probably dying there. Last week I took a final trip through the ghettos of Detroit right before the snow came piling in and mostly to check out what they call the Heidelberg Project...but also to say my final good-byes.
Long story short about the Heidelberg Project, a bunch of artists decided to dress up a bunch of abandoned homes on a couple of blocks in one of the most downtrodden residential areas of Detroit...for "artistic expression," I guess. This is where the definition of what "art" is can be left up for debate because I didn't see anything art-worthy about the experience. (It reminded me of being in a Halloween nightmare after ingesting high amounts of acid. See below for a gander of what I'm talking about.)
Long story short about saying my final good-byes, anyone who says a long-distance relationship or marriage can work is lying. And I'll leave it at that. It doesn't take a genius to read between the lines.
I had a conversation with my step-son about the importance of leaving the Midwest, even for a couple of years, just to expand your mind.
You see, I'm from the Midwest. Chicago to be exact. My dad had a long-time desire to leave even if it killed him. So, the day after my 11th birthday, we packed up and moved to Panama City, Florida for a couple of years. He had financial difficulties surviving in a then-smallish town that thrived only on tourism. So, we packed up right after I turned 13 and off to southern California we went. I've been there ever since.
I explained to my step-son that when I had the opportunity to visit friends in Chicago only a handful of years later after I had left, it's like the entire place shrank in size. My friends were still talking about the same things. They never moved on past grade school even though they were in high school at that time. And I immediately realized I had nothing in common with them anymore. I vowed never to see them again and I haven't seen any of them ever since.
Each time I go to Michigan, nothing seems to change. In fact, Ronnie still associates with people he knew in kindergarten! (Un-freaking-believable in my world...not that there's anything wrong with that.) Their broken down buildings seem to get more decrepit. Everyone complains about local government and blames "them" for not doing anything about the problems of Detroit. And everyone has the same "claims to fame" that never change such as..."Oh, Eminem is from Detroit." (Who cares?! And, by the way, he was born in Missouri and not Michigan!)
There you have the Detroiter's claim to fame: Eminem. Since very few people want to get off their asses to do anything on their own, it's much easier to ride on the fame coattails of someone else.
Now, I'm not being a "hater" or anything. Some people need more motivation. Others are born to be "doers." But as motivated of an individual as I am, I find it very difficult to be productive in such a depressed place as Detroit, Michigan where getting out of bed seems like a monumental event much less doing anything else. (I do know that I would really make some financial and business strides in
Detroit if I really sunk my teeth in the area but that would require living there which won't ever happen in my lifetime. The opportunity is everywhere for those who choose to see it. I see it. I'd just rather work somewhere else...you know, where the sun actually shines more than once a week?!)
Maybe that's why I understand how I must keep moving forward and growing as an individual as well as a leader for other people. Being stagnant in anything isn't part of my operatus morandi. Detroit (and everything in it) remains stagnant. And I can't continue like that as a constantly growing individual.
I'm getting on a plane in a few hours, despite the snow storm. If God is willing, I'll escape this dreary abyss and return home tonight in one piece. Each time I return home, I am relieved that I'm back home, stress and all. (I've lived in California for 26 years.) And I won't be venturing back into the direction of Detroit anytime soon.
As we successfully kick off this New Year, I'm happy to report that I'm moving forward with so many incredibly awesome plans that there is simply no room for a "personal recession," if you know what I mean. Don't get me wrong; I only wish that things would have turned out differently and perhaps one day in the future, the tides will change yet again. But for now, moving forward to positive and greater things is the only option, or I'll perish.
So, I survived the Detroit ghetto in more ways than you'll ever know. Do I plan to return? Not for personal reasons but business always marches on (especially since that's what I live for).
If there is anything that's going on with you personally that needs to be "cleared out" then you need to start making that happen right away otherwise the greater good in your life will never come in. This can be as simple as cleaning out your closets and donating clothes you never wear or as difficult as moving to a new area of the country or giving up a long-time marriage.
How do you know what you need to let go of?
It's not always obvious but I've found that when I have this internal "nagging" feeling that something isn't quite right in a certain area of my life then it's worth a closer look to determine what the problem could be. If your relationship with your significant other isn't working, you've probably been unhappy for some time. If you're job or business is unsatisfying, you definitely have been entertaining new things to do for cash.
This is the year to change. First get rid of what isn't working. Then start introducing the things you want. You'll quickly realize that the life you've always desired is much closer than you think when you finally suck it up and move forward through (and to) the change, including both the bad and the good parts of it.
And remember too, I will be with you every step of the way.
For any of you who don't have my direct email address, this is what it is so don't lose it: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can send me direct questions or tell me your success story. Just be nice because I'm one of those people who won't tolerate being a target to insubordination...or time-wasters for that matter. I think giving you my email address is important because we all need support time and time again. And it makes it much more powerful just to know you have the support there, even if you never end up using it.
See you at the top!