By Julie Imel
Be true to yourself, and your city
I overheard some 20-somethings (I think) complaining there is nothing to do in Scranton the other day when I was grabbing a cup of coffee to go.
I rolled my eyes and thought, “You have no idea how much there is to do here. Pick up a paper, hop online. Look for it!”
Later in the week, I heard another comment from someone that made me wonder what is going on here. This person is of the opinion that Scranton and Wilkes-Barre should be more like New York City or Philadelphia.
No. No we shouldn’t.
While these are undeniably wonderful cities brimming with art, culture and lots of entertainment options, there are negatives to these places, too, such as incredibly high costs of living and high crime, just to name a couple. Beyond that, they just aren’t our cities; they just aren’t home.
So many of us were fortunate to grow up with parents who told us to be true to ourselves; to never change who we are; and embrace all those little (or not so little) quirks that make us special. I think we need to apply the same school of thought to our cities. I’m not saying that everything is unicorns and rainbows here. That would just be naïve. No city is perfect. I just can’t help but wonder why some of our own would ever aspire to be something we are not. Isn’t the better option, the more healthy option, to build upon the good qualities that we already have? We have talented, funny, intelligent, kind and, yes, eccentric, people in our cities that really made their mark in the history books. We have historic architectural gems that many of us are really proud to see every day on our way into work. Let’s enjoy who, and where, we are instead of complaining and wishing for something else.
I know there are others who share my sentiments. If they weren’t out there, we would never have seen such enormous growth in the success of First Friday celebrations in Scranton; the Fine Arts Fiesta in Wilkes-Barre; Arts on Fire at the Iron Furnaces and summer programming at River Common, just to name a few.
If you think about it, we’ve come a long way in just a short time. I remember when many of the annual events we now enjoy didn’t exist. I remember when there was no Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for concerts and hockey games; when there was no development on Montage Mountain, and if you wanted to shop ’til you drop at discount stores, you’d have to drive to the Poconos to do it. If you wanted to go to a wine or brew festival, you would have to travel outside of the area. Today, you can do all of that right in your own back yard.
Please, enjoy Philly and NYC. Take in the museums and see concerts and enrich your experiences in that way. Just don’t forget to take a look around once in a while and enjoy home.
And if you’d like things to be different, and help these cities reach their potential, then do something about it. Become active in your community and make it a better place to be. If you need inspiration, flip through the pages of this paper. You’ll find countless examples of great people and worthy causes to support.
That’s the scoop! Thanks for reading, and I’ll meet you here again next week.
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