Love Letters to Maine | Justin Alfond
I left you after spending the first 16 years of my life in Waterville and Dexter. Those seminal years made me who I am and left an impression that I could not shake.
I returned to you at 28. I wanted what I remembered. Like when the Dexter basketball team was in the state finals and someone spray-painted a huge sign that read, “The last one leaving town, please turn out the lights.” It felt like the whole community was at the Bangor Auditorium that night.
I’ve been back for an amazing 17 years. I’ve loved getting reacquainted and discovering aspects that I never knew. I’ve loved taking unexpected turns in my life because you made me feel like I could do so. I’ve loved knocking on my neighbor’s door and asking for help with anything, anytime. I’ve loved engaging in a place that cares reciprocally.
We are living in unsettling times. Too many people are struggling with hunger, homelessness, and lack of health care. Parts of our state are struggling more than others. Climate change is threatening our legacy industries and, with it, a part of our identity. It’s easy to feel disconnected and overwhelmed. What centers me is what brought me back: the belief that we are all in this together.
I’m now 45. My wife and I are raising our two young children here. I appreciate the inevitable changes that accompany life. While it was my nostalgia that brought me back, I’m here for the present and to help build the future.
I love you, Maine!
Alfond is the former Maine Senate president and cofounder of Full Plates Full Potential.