Driving to my office downtown in the morning with snow crusting the peak, seeing the cool ice rink in Acacia and the remnants of holiday decorations, getting a fresh cup of Sumatra, then co-working at Epicentral …This is my community that has been so good to me and that I have fallen in love with. But on this morning, it is bittersweet. Actually it’s sweet-bitter-sweet.
It’s a time that I have been longing for, yet a time that I have not been looking forward to. A time when it is all sinking in that in just a few weeks, I will live 1,600 miles away.
This may come as a shock to a few of you. Why leave a place that you love and that is good to you? The journey to get to here has been full of wrestling…and I’d like to share with you where this sweet-bitter-sweet morning came from.
I love this city, this downtown. I grew up in COS and have been a downtowner for over 9 years now. My wife and I had just gotten married and lived in Kansas City, and with the world in front of us, we were looking for a new place to live. Somewhere fun and exciting, all in a downtown area. When we heard our friends had started a church in Downtown Colorado Springs, we chose to move back to be part of it. We rented a super cute apartment in a big house on Arcadia and from there we were hooked. I remember driving downtown from up north one day, turning left on Wahsatch from Fontanero and just feeling like I could breathe again… I was home.
Downtown captured my heart.
We bought a house on Kiowa in 2006 and 4 months later we had our first child. Children give perspective on life like nothing else. You want everything for them; you want them safe from any harm; you must provide for them; you want the best. Some people asked me if I felt safe with kids Downtown. I thought about this quite a bit and concluded that we were in the perfect place for growing our family and building my career. Now that we have 4 children and I’m an owner of a growing marketing company, it is clear that my conclusion was the right one.
Downtown has been wonderful to us.
Being a marketer for some time and seeing the effects that good story-telling has on humans, I realized something about Downtown and its story: too many wrong and out-dated perceptions were ruling the minds of people in Colorado Springs. The wrong stories were being told and people seemed a little beat down because of it. I wrestled with my business partners at Magneti Marketing about it. Our team would meet with city leaders, downtown business owners, sometimes just dudes hanging out at Acacia Park to gather information and prove/disprove our own observations. I believed a story that was real to me, not one that was fabricated. This is because I actually experienced it, instead of projecting it. I saw it with my own eyes, not my mind’s eye.
Downtown has a great story…already.
Last year my friends and I got to tell the story about the Downtown that we believe it to be, but this time not just to one person here and another person there. We got to tell it to the masses through a video we put together for the Downtown Partnership’s Breakfast with the Mayor, which was the most attended one they have ever had. We finally got to shout it from the rooftops…andpeople heard it…and it resonated with them. It was their story too. The Downtown story will continue to thrive, and I will take it with me where I am going.
That sweet-bitter-sweet feeling I had that morning was because I was taking it all in, all that I’ve been a part of over the last 9 years. The first ‘sweet’ is a true joy and deep gratitude to be a part of this community and to know and work with some of the smartest and most thoughtful people I know. Also, for the geography that I have been able to live, work, and, most importantly, play in. This is my home.
The ‘bitter’ is because I am leaving home.
Good stories often have a “call to adventure” in order for them to be a good story. For example, in Star Wars, Leia’s holographic plea of ‘Help us, Obi-Wan, you’re our only hope!’, through R2-D2 called Luke Skywalker to adventure”. Most often these calls to adventure happen to the protagonist in the story. In my story, I am imposing one on my life.
We’re moving to Washington DC for an epic family adventure and to start the satellite office of Magneti (don’t worry… Magneti is still running strong in COS). This is where the final ‘sweet’ comes in. Going on an adventure is exciting, it’s riveting, it’s uncertain many times, and choosing to take the ‘call’ is something I know I won’t regret when I look back. There are a lot of different reasons for going, and for specifically choosing DC, both personally and professionally. While I don’t know exactly how long we’ll be there, we will be back. In fact, we didn’t sell our house.
I’m proud to be from Colorado Springs.
Like Downtown, there are some wrong and out-dated perceptions in our country about our awesome city. The wrong story has been told. I want to tell people our real Colorado Springs story. I think someone should create a marketing campaign called, “Life is good here.” You know why? Because it is. Actually. It’s a story I believe in because it’s one I have lived and have been a part of for most of my life. It’s not fabricated or theorized about. It is. And I’m excited to share it.
We lived here. We loved here. We’ll be back here. And through the wonders of the internet, we’re excited to take our treasured relationships with us on this adventure and share in the adventures that await Downtown and Colorado Springs.