What’s the statute of limitations on blaming your parents for your life’s issues?

There should be a law that makes it 21. You mosey into a bar, order your first legal adult bev of choice (“legal” being the operative word here) and the bartender slides it across the bar with a wink and a nod, “Bottoms up, kid. You’re on your own now.” You freeze – because yes, this drink officially marks your rite of passage for ending the blame game.


The consequence for breaking the law? Easy, you move back in with your parents… FOR.EVER. Scary enough to knock sense into 99.9% of the human population.

Same exact is true for blaming where you live for your shortcomings. Except in this situation, the only law that we’re creating is Murphy’s. Because if geography is what’s causing the problem then you’re looking out for anything and everything to go wrong as much as humanly possible. Then it can be a, “See, I told you so.” Which, BTDubs – grates on everybody’s nerves.

So, what gives? When are we going to start looking at accountability as more of an asset than a liability? That’s when we’ll see healthier risks being made and more resiliency from taking chances.

Most of us know that Utica is on a MAJOR up and up. No argument, right? (Aside from the “encouraging” words from our dear prez.) There are some really incredible businesses and even more inspiring movements that are raising the bar on reigniting Utica’s flame. A lot of us are feeling the good vibes. There are more bodies circling bbqs with “what if” ideas-turned-opportunities than the knee-jerk snoozefest conversations at the water cooler. (Zzzzz…hmpfgh…I’m sorry, what?)

So, then why are we not all on board with the Utica upswing?

Because without being fully in, we save face from being held responsible if it doesn’t work out. Duh. It gives us an out. We pop a squat on the bleachers, stuffing our faces with cheese dogs, pointing our fingers at the players and calling the shots…without ever taking a swing. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. It’s also the best possible way to never truly enjoy the game. Maybe because it’s easier to be a passenger on the complain train than to risk jumping off. Because then what? Then your ego is battered and bruised which gives a better chance for “it” to surface… And any Stephen King lover out there knows that “It” ain’t pretty.

What is “It”?

That little thing called fear.

It’s in all of us. Yeah, yeah, you too. Just settle down there for a second. It looks like Marky Mark on your doorstep screaming through the peep hole to let it in “THE F*CKING HOUSE!” and it terrifies us. It makes us aware that we may be onto something but if we open up the door then accountability, rejection, judgment, and being wrong all shove themselves in no matter how much furniture we pile against the door. And then what? Who’s to blame now? Your parents? The city you live in? Mark Mark? Like the bartender said, “You’re on your own now, kid.”

But are you really? No. No way. You are in a city that is in the thiiiick of supporting each other. Helping one another. Sharing. Connecting. All in the most non-social media sense of any of these words.  You just need to give yourself the courage to choose your circles wisely. Flesh and blood contributions call for grabbing a coffee or a beer so that we can get down to the nitty gritty of what we know in our hearts of hearts: contribution takes collaboration and community. It’s being honest. Putting ourselves out there. Because, the idea that scares us the most is the one that really needs to be created today.

Then what happens? We end up coming together as a unified team who, even when we agree to disagree, all have our eye on the same prize.

Which is?

To make Utica the best damn city of its size and beyond.

Putting ourselves out there to stand for what we believe and contribute it with all we’ve got is the ultimate win. It’s not always easy. It’s not always fun. It is always necessary to continue to be proud of not just where we’re from but who we are. Show me one person who was able to make major change in their community who didn’t persevere through the grind to come up feeling even more accomplished and stronger than before.

Change makers beget change makers.

So, go ahead. Step up to bat with trembling fingers and a little bile in your throat. Take the swing with all you’ve got, knowing that there is a team