Too big? You’ve failed.

I’ve lost track of the people who’ve asked me, “How big is Cork?” While I realize they’re just being polite, and maybe even interested, about my life, I really don’t know – or care – how big the place is.

Too often we use bigness as a shorthand for better. In many cases, the comment about being too big to fail is a bit off. When something gets too big, it’s already failed. It’s not responsive to people, only to other institutions of its own size. Anything smaller is either a building block or nutrition. I’ve always felt that the purpose of business is to provide a means for people to make a decent living. Not for a few people to skim off more than they can possibly spend in a sane society.

Let’s re-phrase the question to ask, “How good is ——?”

And then let’s expand it to ask how good a place is for you, or for a particular purpose. Then we’re getting somewhere. One of the moral judgements s we’ve enshrined in a nursery rhyme asks if something is too big, too small or just right. If our present location is inappropriate for our stage in life, maybe it’s time to move on. Or if – for whatever reason – we’re tied to a place, it’s time for us to help it grow – or maybe just transform – for a purpose. Growth for its own sake, without purpose, is called cancer.

For me, size has more to do with accessibility to the people, places and things I value. One of many reasons Cork is right for me is that within a 15-20 minute walk I’ve got more venues for arts, good food and drink than I can count. And I don’t particularly find a need to count them, anyway. I’ve found wonderful people and an atmosphere that more than fills my mind and spirit, as well.

I’m in a place that nourishes my mind, my stomach and my soul.

It’s home.


5 Comments on “Too big? You’ve failed.

    • Not so much an accent as a usage of words and occasional pronunciation. My spelling is still a blended work in progress. Years ago, when my hearing was a lot closer to 100%, I could pick up accents in a heartbeat. Now, not so much. Some natives politely ask what part of North America I’m from, others simply ask how long I’ve lived here.

  1. Must be a quirk of human nature: students always asked how big the pyramids were (look it up!); friends ask the same question regarding where I live now…it’s enough for me!

  2. I tend to think of big cities as a series of small towns.

    • I tend to agree with you, except that a fair number of people use cities for anonymity and intentionally avoid the small town sense of community and responsibility that comes with neighborhood identification.

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