My parents are from the baby boomer generation and it is this generation that I continue to learn how to organize, prioritize, and engage with the progress of evolution and enlightenment. It was this generation that help to expand the civil rights movement, environmental movement, anti-war movement and the women’s movement. At age thirty-one I am aware that I have maybe twenty years left to work, learn, and understand the legacy of this generation in person. Constantine reminds me of the responsibility he feels towards his parents’ generation that left him with an opportunity to serve others and create this business. They taught him to have a work ethic, to sacrifice for the greater good, be a steward of the land, and fix that which is broken. He reminds me of the humility that is learned though pragmatic resourcefulness.
He continues to live his ideals as he becomes an elder. His eyes question my dedication as he speaks his truth, telling me that I must learn the systems that he has been practicing into wisdom for twelve years at Athens’ Own. In order to understand how something works you must know where it comes from, how it is prepared, distributed, fixed when broken, and recycled back to the earth. I stand before him as a confident women determined to understand him and help him, although I know that the arrogant, self-indulgent, negligent aspect of youth is the stereotype that I must prove to be foreign to my professional nature. I reassure him that I am here to listen, to learn how an ethical business succeeds week to week, and readjust my perception so that my humility will balance the success that I have earned and received. My goal is to take the hippy free flowing ideals and translate them into an outline that can be followed, recommended by institutions, and copied as a model.
He wants all of our dialogues to be transparent and online, not just tonight, tomorrow or next week, no he wants them to be online in the moment that the magic is happening so that others can be included in the discussion. I can understand why logs are important, they keep the history of the people that have been involved with Athens’ Own. Their experiences are not lost and they stay connected well after their internship is over. Their experiences represent them and help the business adapt and improve. Constantine is enthusiastic about the Communication Era. He sees democracy happening through an online forum so that dominating groups do not have the power by default. He is not afraid of failures and mistakes rather he believes that they are challenges that inspire work and solutions that lead to efficiency. He has no problem with critiques of the business for he believes that everything that he and his team does at Athens’ Own is owned by the community and that community should know what they are doing.
As we leave for the day I am reminded to be mindful of my words. I have so much to learn. I feel that I have only practiced and studied sustainability. Constantine is teaching it and living it everyday. I am not here to pat myself on the back while living in the progressive town of Athens. I am here to learn how to grow and greet challenges with an open mind like that which is inspired with the rising sun. Granted, when I am up that early I sometimes question with enthusiasm, challenging what I see before me or what I hear, but I know to trust that all will be explained and understood in good time.