Everything Old is New Again

Written by, Samuel K. Burlum, Investigative Reporter, and author of The Green Lane, a syndicated column, Published on 10/2/2018, a SamBurlum.com Exclusive

Tags: Business, Community, Economy, Entrepreneurship, Small Business, Environmental, Energy, Job Creation

Source: Everything has a life cycle: a career, a product, a technology, even a building or sports venue all have their heyday. When most items in our world become old, broken, outdated or past their prime, we are often very quick to dispose of them. Sadly, even individual lives are often devalued and disregarded in our throw-away society. How do we find new purpose and new life after the prime has been reached?

Broken toys, broken cars, broken homes, and unfortunately, broken people are often viewed today as disposable. Sadly enough, our modern day society has its way of treating people in the same way they treat disposable objects. What if that wasn’t the case? What if everything old had a new purpose? What if each person could find a new purpose that gave them a new breathe of fresh air, giving them a sense of value and importance again?

Our modern day world is so quick to condemn the broken, and will vilify a broken person’s faults and capitalize on the fallen. It is printed in news headlines every day; and while the masses can be quick to judge others, their own fears of mistakes or failure are simultaneously being fed. It is not uncommon for major media to splash the front pages with catchy headlines, purposefully created to trigger the emotional reactions of shock and awe so a reader continues to read on, while they inadvertently end up viewing advertisements within the printed or online media.

How many headlines have you seen recently where the news caster shares about the comeback story of the broken or fallen – how they utilized their adverse set of circumstances to turn their lives around, and as a result, helped to improve the lives of others around them? Today’s society often considers the broken unworthy of a new lease on life, and once the label has been placed on them, it can be very difficult to shake, no matter how much good they do or how much they turn their lives around.

There are individuals, groups and communities that believe everything old can be made new again with a little love, time, dedication, and old fashioned elbow grease. There are signs of this everywhere.

For instance, older homes are often purchased, remodeled and upgraded with modern amenities, while having some of the original features incorporated so the owners could hold onto the home’s original charm that they fell in love with when they first purchased it.  Some of the original doors, floor boards, fixtures, woodwork, etc. are often repurposed for other functions within the remodel.

Another example can be found at the famed Orange County Fair Speedway, located in Middletown, New York. The facility itself and venue has served the racing community for over 150 years between its combined history of harness and horse racing and almost a century of automobile racing.  This track recently got a new lease on life. While many speedways of its kind have fallen to modern day suburban sprawl, the OCFS racing community has supported their decaying “House of Power.” As of recent, the speedway has had a makeover. New grandstand seating and bleachers have replaced the rotting wood chairs. Buildings are being remodeled and painted. Even the race surface has seen a transformation.

It’s the love for the racing community and the love of the sport that helped this happen. The premise of value in this track that holds a great legacy (even though it might be past its prime) is a driving force for Chris Larson of Halmar Construction and the rest of the racing community in breathing new life into something that could have easily been bulldozed into another shopping plaza. The transformation has its cost – financial investment, time and vision, but also brings a refreshing buzz of excitement, renewal and enthusiasm.

Likewise, consider the car enthusiast that spots the rotting carcass of an old rusted automobile parked in a farmer’s field, and envisions a new day on the horizon for the vehicle (which may be thirty, forty or even fifty years old or more). He brings in a tow truck and pulls the relic from the dirt once he has negotiated terms of purchase with the farmer. Back in the shop, the mechanic then pulls apart every nut and bolt, door and fender. Once the car is down to the bare frame, the mechanic makes a parts list, then invests money and time to take the pile of junk and bring it back to life to become a beautiful piece of mechanical artwork.

So why is it that we don’t invest this kind of effort in rebuilding broken people?

In some cases, there are communities of people who believe in investing the same kind of passion and love for one another, realizing that in life, there are second chances. In faith, Christians believe in this concept. The idea of being “born again” is that of a new beginning for an individual who acknowledges his faulty nature and accepts the forgiveness and salvation that is a gift from God, and then commits to following the example of Christ to walk in faith and new habits in line with God’s word. Despite a man’s inability to be perfect, God continues to forgive and guide.

There are advocacy groups that work with former inmates who are now trying to rebuild their lives. These advocacy groups provide assistance and education to former inmates to equip them for successful re-entry into society and gainful employment, and then continue to support and provide guidance to them. In some cases, rehabilitated former inmates begin to mentor other former inmates on re-entry into society as a way to promote peer to peer support.

In sports, second chances don’t happen often, however they do happen. In baseball, a player might be drafted and get their once-in-a-lifetime chance to play in the major leagues. Sometimes, players have unsuccessful debuts or sustain injuries that can really set them back. Some players are even sent back to the minor leagues to work out the fundamentals and mechanics of their skill craft before they can be promoted back to the majors.

What about the players who never meet the mark, yet have extensive knowledge and passion for the sport?  Maybe those players could continue to be involved in the sport and transition their knowledge capital to other areas of the industry such as scouting or sports marketing. The players then have second chances with their career in sports, just put to work in different applications.

There is not any one specific recipe for renewing people who are rebuilding from a poor season in their lives. Everyone’s situation is different. The process starts with the fallen individual.  They must recognize their mistakes and/or weaknesses, learn from them, and be ready to change and apply the lessons learned to become better and stronger. Just the same, we should all be willing to recognize this step and support those who are willing to rebuild from nothing.

It has been said, “Failure is the first step toward success.” If we believe in that quote, then surely successes come from second chances.

Samuel K. Burlum is an Investigative Reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. Samuel K. Burlum is also a career entrepreneur, who currently lends his expertise as a Consultant firm to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in several areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also author of “The Race to Protect Our Most Important Natural Resource-Water,” and “Main Street Survival Guide for Small Businesses.”

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