Like any beautiful woman, the city of Hartford has heard it all. She always has new suitors, each armed with their respective promises, plans or pleas. The charming and the rich have tried to change her, attempting to reinvent her within the confines of their expectations. It is obvious Hartford is tired of the games as she endures ignorant bullying any time she tries to be happy.
Nevertheless, Hartford remains hopeful. Her motto "after the clouds, the sun" is a hardened stance born from too many heartbreaks and shattered promises, but true to self, Hartford is always the hopeless romantic.
While Hartford has continued to heal from past relationships, someone has quietly surprised her. A new generation, a Young Hartford, is at her doorstep with a bouquet of new ideas and a fresh start.
We have arrived with our strong will, our endearing persistence, and our understanding that strong relationships are nurtured over time and hard work. We are bold and determined in relentless pursuit of our passions, but are also patient in earning her trust. We are listening with an honest, open heart, moving forward with confidence as we learn the little things about her, walking her streets with the understanding the best ones are always two-way.
Hartford is beginning to see we are different. Now that we have her attention, we must prove our worth. We must make ourselves valuable, our absence must be noticeable, and in the end, unbearable.
Young Hartford must be brave, champion what is important to us, and take responsibility for our dreams. Our positivity and persistence will be a source of strength and security for Hartford. She will find joy in our youth and energy, but we must also learn and respect Hartford's past if we want to be a meaningful part of her future.
Hartford must know we do not simply want to be present in conversations — we want our personal passions realized, the opportunity to give our individual gifts to her. We want a deeper connection with our community, and while we are built on the laurels of our predecessors, we have our own ideas, too. Hartford will only change when she sees all of the possibilities in a life with us.
Hartford is a beautiful, intelligent city that has matured to no longer have interest in superficial relationships. She wants real appreciation, real commitment, real love. She is independent and complex. She does not owe us anything and she will not wait for anyone. Hartford isn't easy, and that's why she's worth it.
TJ Clynch is the founder of Civic Mind, Downtown Yoga, and the Hartford HodgePodge. He lives in south downtown.