I recently had the opportunity to visit family in upstate New York. It was a time of sharing and a time of bonding, but also a time of a profound insight. Let me share.
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I once read that life is all about plan B. As our lives unfold, we have a specific vision of our journey. But most of us wind up going down a unique path. Family members shared with me that cities in upstate New York once had acres of factories and parking lots for workers stretching to the horizon.
Companies manufactured motors, turbines, ceramics, rugs, clothing and shoes. In some towns, the entire population worked in factories, foundries or mills. It was unthinkable that life would ever be different. But a tsunami of change swept away the American Dream.
Because of technology, political factors and economic imperatives, the factories closed and moved to other states or countries. The factories are shuttered now. The parking lots are empty. All that remains are memories, some of which are not very positive.
In a real sense, life for the residents of these cities became plan B, and this provides an important lesson for all of us. None of us knows what tomorrow may bring. We need to be proactive. We need to have some sense of the changes at work in our communities or we too may be left behind.
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Jul. 11, 2012