Matt Mooshian isn’t interested in what you do.
No, that’s not true. He is, but don’t expect that to be the first thing he asks you when he meets you. Expect something more like, What do you love to do? What makes you you?
It’s part of Mooshian’s fresh approach to life as a (relatively) young person in the Upper Valley. His blog 20 Something tackles the questions and challenges that he and his peers tend to face in the professional world and in their communities these days—of which complacency is one. And he’s on something of a mission to redefine what it means to be successful, to get us thinking more about how we can be impactful. In that endeavor, we certainly hope he does succeed.
Matt, you’re a 20-something in the Upper Valley. How big a misperception is it that there’s nothing cool or interesting here for young people?
I think a lot of people my age often times feel there is nothing cool or interesting here, but they’re not trying hard enough. You don’t really have to look that hard. We all see events on our Facebook feeds. We see posters around town advertising for events. I challenge you, the next time you see a poster or click “interested” in an event—actually go. You never know who or what you might find next! The more involved you are, the more people you’ll meet, and the more opportunities you’ll find!
And you live in Claremont, right? Care to share any of your favorite hidden gems around town?
There are a few places in Claremont I’ve really come to appreciate. When I am meeting with people from out of town or hosting a community meeting, I really enjoy Revolution Cantina. It’s not so much a hidden gem—because it’s right in town—but they have so much to offer! The gathering space downstairs is great for meetings and small get-togethers. The food is great, and when the weather is nice you can sit outside and enjoy downtown. Once I bring someone there, they always want to come back!
I love your posts on redefining success in this frenetic digital age. Rather than letting “what you do” be our first introduction, you hope people will dig deeper into their creative selves to find meaning. What activity or pastime gets your creative juices flowing?
Thank you so much! I think it is so important, especially for young people, to think about success in our own terms, and that really does begin with how we introduce ourselves.
Nothing gets me more motivated or gets my “creative juices” flowing more than talking to other people. Other the weekend I presented a workshop at the New Hampshire Progressive Summit. Hearing from other Granite Staters about projects they are involved in and the things they are passionate about is so motivational and inspiring.
Recently I sat down to talk with Elyse Crossman, executive director of the Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce, to talk about being a young professional and the value of community. Making connections, for me, is what it is all about, and that’s what I really hope to work into my blog. I want to create connections with all different kinds of people.
Tell us about your work with the TLC Family Resource Center and the Rural Outright program that you lead.
Rural Outright is a program of TLC Family Resource Center (TLC), providing support and advocacy to rural LGBTQ+ Granite Staters and their allies. We “officially” became a program of TLC in March of 2017, and we have been so busy! The basic idea behind Rural Outright is that it can be hard to be part of the LGBTQ+ community in rural areas. Other than us, the nearest resource for LGBTQ+ people is in Concord or Portsmouth. When you’re young, or not out, or you don’t have a car — it can be nearly impossible to get there.
That’s why we’ve worked hard to build a network of LGBTQ+ people, their families, and allies. We created social/support groups, and we’ve hosted events to engage with multiple communities in Sullivan County and Lower Grafton County. We’ve partnered with other local businesses and organizations, too. Earlier this year we produced The Laramie Project in partnership with Amplified Arts in downtown Claremont. Currently, we’re gearing up for Claremont’s first ever PRIDE celebration, Rural PRIDE, on Saturday June 16.
In preparation for Rural PRIDE we recently launched the #HateHasNoBizHere initiative for local businesses and organizations to send a clear message of acceptance and inclusion. We have a vision and goals at Rural Outright and we’re working hard towards them! For more about Laramie, Rural PRIDE, #HateHasNoBizHere, or anything else Rural Outright you can visit our website, tlcfamilyrc.org/rural-outright.
Advice for others who want to make an impact on their community but don’t know where to start?
Funny you should ask. The workshop I presented over the weekend was called “From a Moment to a Movement,” and it was all about making an impact in your community. My biggest advice for anyone wanting to make an impact is to take a moment and think about your goal. What do you want to accomplish? Once you’ve decided, make a plan and don’t give up. But first, you need to be clear about what it is you want. Then you can move in that direction. So, take a moment and ask yourself: what is your goal? What is your desired outcome? What is it exactly that you want to accomplish? Then: write it down, make a plan, and don’t give up.