“Hey, I saw you and about 15 people in reflective vests running up Old Canton hill last night. Looks like fun! Can I join?”

I get questions lately from some of my Fondren neighbors. We have been quite active and it seems that people are noticing. You see, I train people to live a healthier life and as part of that training, I am out and active with my clients in my neighborhood. Sure, we get some double takes, but that tells me that people are paying attention, and as they pass through, they will remember something is different about Fondren – something that they may not have yet in their own ‘hood.

Fondren is different for sure, and that is a great thing because I am, too. Oftentimes, I tell people that Fondren is my playground. By that, I mean it is somewhere that I can be a kid. It is somewhere where everyone knows me, but I also feel like I can disappear into the background and be myself without being judged for being a little different. In Fondren, I can drop down on the steps of a local church and do some inclined push-ups and then get back up and keep on running up Duling Avenue and then back down State Street. In Fondren, I can run with my dog through the streets as fast as I can and see my neighbors laughing instead of staring. In Fondren, I can run a 5k promoted by Rod’s Racers or join one of the community bike rides put on by Jackson Bike Advocates. And it is in Fondren that if I ever want to participate or watch some skateboarding, I can do so at one of Swell-O-Phonic’s Skate Jams.

The thing about “playing” in Fondren is that it shows to others that we are “moving” in Fondren. Not only are we moving for our health, but we are moving in positive directions as a community. We are not remaining stagnant and accepting the status quo; we are demanding better things of ourselves and for ourselves. We have some great businesses here and most likely some new ones on the way. We have people moving into our neighborhoods that are young and influential people in the greater Jackson area. These are people that expect more from their leadership, from local business owners and from their neighbors. When I was running up the Old Canton hill the other night and saw a group of people in their reflective vests running behind me, I thought about how great it was. We’re showing the people passing by what can be done when a group of like-minded individuals get together to “play.” Come play with us.

Terry Sullivan is our go-to responsible living consulting. He is the owner of liveRIGHTnow. This article was originally printed in our Spring 2012 Guide.