Connecting with people—that's where I’m finding my joy. I spent a lot of my life isolated, self-exiled, if you will. But there’s something about Troy that evokes those connections. See, I’ve been looking around and asking, "Where is the community I’m going to connect with?” I don’t want to just be the curmudgeon that doesn’t like anybody. Coming here, having conversations... it’s like there is hope. There’s a sense of possibility that comes out of all of that.

It’s the small moments where I really feel like I connect to someone. It's not even necessarily about what we specifically discussed. I'll have these conversations that are interesting and that I'd love to continue, but I'll walk away with a sense of that person that we didn't directly talk about. That resonates with me. There's something greater there, something unspoken. Appreciation. Perspective. It's too weighty to call it "spiritual," but when you find people with a rich inner life or an appreciation for things that are bigger than themselves... that gives weight to the conversation.

And if someone has that inside them, and they're trying to bring that forth to somebody else… that’s pretty rare. But I’ve found it here. I can have everyday conversations about where should we eat or what’s business like in Troy, but that’s not what’s going on internally. Internally, we're asking big questions like, “How does one live? How does one raise the level of what’s around them? How does one operate with principles?”

It’s like being involved with a drama — you’ve got a role you play on stage, but what’s actually motivating that? It’s the connections and the pursuit of those connections.