A few weeks ago it was all the rage on Facebook to say, "I'm so Columbia..." and then complete the sentence with memories of bygone times and places. It was fun for those participating, but it was not a game I could play. My roots in Columbia date back only as far as 1999.
Facebook allows all of us to indulge our nostalgia. I have, at one time or another, participated groups dedicated to growing up in Cleveland Heights, Fans of Hough Bakeries, former students of Coventry Elementary School, and the like. My roots, and my deep formative memories, are there. And it's fun to bump up against others who share those memories. Nostalgia is a dish best shared.
Recently I became a member of a new group on Facebook: Celebrating Columbia, Maryland and its Future. It has been refreshing to interact, albeit virtually, with people who define themselves by their love of the place rather than the years they have lived here. Rather like the old saying, "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Saturday night I attended a picnic with people who share a love for Columbia and where it is going. Conversation was positive and thought-provoking. Topics ranged from how Columbia could be more child-friendly, to the importance of making home ownership possible for real middle-class families, to reaching out to new residents, and more. The spirit of the People Tree was definitely present. The prohibitions of those wedded only to the past were not.
All of which is to say that I'm ready to play the game. "I'm so Columbia..."
I'm so Columbia that I'm excited about the present and I want to be an active part of the future.
How about you?