City has chance to look for new focus

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 10, 2000

The course of a life can change in a moment.

Friday, March 10, 2000

The course of a life can change in a moment.

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A brush with death, saving a life – those are obvious. Looking at your priorities the same way would be pretty hard after either experience.

There are influences that are more temporal, too, a new love, a new job, a new house. All those are chances to start again.

But influences can be more subtle, too, sometimes making you think about where you have been, where you are going and what your goals should be as you move into a new stage of life.

Those cues can come from stories that touch your heart and make you ponder why life – and people – follow certain paths.

And sometimes the motivator is a change that is the end of an era but not the end itself.

And therein lies the measure of the mettle of the person who faces one of those life-changing moments.

The first answer to such a challenge is the easy one – sit, worry and wait or simply jump ship. The second response is how lives – and communities – grow and change.

And that is the response Ironton needs now.

This has not been an easy year for many local families. The ups and downs of worry, job loss and an end to some employers we have counted on for a number of years have taken their toll on all of us.

There is no question; the future is a little scary right now.

But this week, someone I don’t talk to very often – and to whom obviously I should address more questions – suggested another way to look at Ironton’s recent troubles.

I won’t use his name – I didn’t have a chance to ask him if he would mind if I shared his perspective with you.

He addressed the question only briefly, but I have carried them to the next step on his behalf.

He sees the changes in Ironton this year as rough, yes, but also as an opportunity to reinvent ourselves as a community.

Rather than lamenting the loss of our current industrial makeup, he suggests that this is the time to find a new face for Ironton.

He adds that there are positives to some of the changes, too, and that they are necessary if Ironton is to move into the next century – and prosper.

And his idea is an intriguing one – a catalyst for thought for all of us who wonder where we are going.

What is so wrong with exploring our possibilities again and setting a completely new direction for a community that we all love?

That is called growth, and it is a vital part of making anything – a community, a life – better.

As the year progresses, Ironton will get good news, opportunities and challenges and face more disappointments. That is what life is all about.

Perhaps we should all take our cue from my anonymous analyst and embrace change and the fresh perspective it can bring.

Maybe this could be our defining moment – as a community.

Renee Carey is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune.