Finding Beauty in the Chaos of Everyday Life

By Travis on January 31, 2009

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It’s hard to describe exactly how I see the world. I tend to look see things differently from many people around me. It wasn’t always this way. I moved away from Quincy when I attended Western Illinois University. Upon graduating I found myself in Saint Louis getting my feet wet in the real world dealing with bills, stress, relationships, all that fun stuff. Throughout the day to day, I felt something inside of me begin to grow, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I soon realized that there was a part of me that actually missed Quincy. Quincy, the town with nothing to do, the town where weekend activities included driving up and down Broadway or sipping coffee in Steak and Shake, the place most of my friends in high school couldn’t wait to get out of.

Regardless, the feeling continued to grow. I began looking into Quincy’s history and discovering little interesting tidbits, talk about local breweries, various historical events, and many other things of interest. It wasn’t till I moved away from Quincy that I learned to appreciate it for all that is it.  Though I longed to be back in Qtown, life had other plans. It was my time in Oklahoma City that made me miss the aesthetic ambiance of Quincy. Maine Street, with the canopy of trees, the well kept lawns, the many various parks, the overall sense of pride that is found in a city where the people appreciate things that look nice.  Upon having these realizations as well as my longing to be back in Quincy I had an idea, I wanted to promote Quincy, to share with others my the perspective I had gained for my hometown. I first envisioned Qtown as an online audio podcast.  I soon realized that maintaining a project like that would be next to impossible while being in Oklahoma. As quickly as life sent me packing to Oklahoma, I was caught off guard by life again. My long-term relationship with my girlfriend ended suddenly out of the blue one day. I found myself in a haze of confusion trying to figure out what I was now supposed to do. This however was the start of making my vision for Qtown a reality.

It was two days before Christmas and I had packed everything I could fit into my car and began driving home from Oklahoma. I am fortunate to have a large car, so I managed to bring a lot back with me. Upon getting things packed I had just enough room in the passenger seat for my dog. How appropriate, I found myself living out a country western song, heading close to nine hours in a car through the night back home to Quincy, talking to myself, singing along to the radio, and trying to figure out what I was going to do when I got to Quincy. I remember driving through Tulsa on interstate 44 with the sun setting behind me as I drove east. It was a beautiful sunset.  I think I found a little bit of solace that day looking in my drivers side mirror and seeing such a beautiful sunset looking back. Regardless of how bad I felt about how the relationship I once thought was “the one” had ended so abruptly and chaotic, it was at this point that I knew what I was going to do. I was going to dedicate every waking hour to utilizing my creativity to see the world like I saw in that sunset, beauty amongst the chaos.

Upon returning home I spent the first three months looking for a job. I also spent a lot of time walking around downtown, taking in the sights and sounds, re-acquainting myself with the town. After a 5 year detour I was back home. I spent hours at the library checking out stuff about Quincy’s past, and it seemed the more I looked the more I found, the more I became inspired to share my love of Quincy. Slightly more than a year has passed since I first moved home. I am now back on my feet and have found the time and resources to make this one time vision of Qtown a reality.

It’s hard for me to define what Qtown is or isn’t. Lately I’ve settled on this:

Qtown is an online social experiment with a goal of serving as a catalyst for positive change. Qtown seeks to inform, entertain, and involve all Quincians regardless of race, age, religious, or sexual preference. Qtown will explore areas of the community involving history, arts, culture, and miscellaneous stories and opinions to help establish knowledge, pride, and continued growth within our community.

I encourage accepting the possibility that we can make this place a little bit better than the way we found it. Quincy is not perfect, no city is but rather than taking the easy road of complaining about injustices, critiquing other people’s bad ideas, I challenge you to take action, write a letter to those you feel are doing something wrong, participate in constructive criticism, be a catalyst for positive change and positive growth in the community, volunteer or donate to the community efforts. I hope that you will stand with me in this pursuit called Qtown, I hope that you can see Quincy the same way I saw the sunset while driving home through Tulsa, Oklahoma; by finding beauty in the chaos of everyday life and more so, sharing it with others.

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