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Being the best

So here we are … the “Best of” issue. 

Truth be told, it’s one of my favorites. As a publication driven on all things 209, this issue helps highlight some of the best of the best for our 209 community members, as well as those passing through.

Each issue, as one column idea comes to a close for this space I’m faced by … what’s next?

As a columnist, it’s not always easy knowing what thoughts to share – and there are many. The struggle or challenge is always the thought of what’s relatable or helpful for our readers. Now of course, the reality in this is that it’s not a one size fits all publication and neither is this column. My goal and/or wish, however, remains the same, with each issue I hope to gain the attention of one new reader. Life after all isn’t one size fits all either, so as I may share a topic relatable to the runner, yogi or mom in one issue, the next may connect with someone battling cancer, going through divorce or simply just trying to get through the days with a smile.

Hence the segue to this issue’s topic, inspired by the issue theme of “Best of.” 

In previous issues I’ve shared that while 2020 threw the world the curveball of COVID I was thrown a separate curveball of cancer. Now 16 months post-diagnosis life has begun to take shape to something which is somewhat recognizable. In truth the task of overcoming Stage 3 Breast Cancer was a bit more involved than I had envisioned, but we’ll save that for another issue. 

Looking at life now, versus one year ago is much, much different and as I thought to this issue I challenged myself with making it a bit more personal. Sharing the Best of the 209 as a magazine, inspired me to personally think of what it means to be the best me.

Case in point, it’s taken some discipline as well as deep thought in silence to recognize that the shutdown (as well as cancer) had some less than favorable effects on me personally. In mid-June as I began returning to our office, I quickly recognized how much I’d missed being in this space. 

Now as I type this from an area Starbuck’s I find myself invigorated by the music, the people in passing, the conversation and just the overall energy.

During the past year, while my tribe focused on my illness and helping me heal and recover, my focus was honestly on my children and my partner. A fact I didn’t truly realize until the world reopened and things around our home began returning to normal. Suddenly the things which kept me occupied as I helped each of them, was no longer needed. It was time for me to return to some normalcy, just as they had. The shutdown had such a major impact on each of us in numerous different ways, yet this I never saw coming.

It’s the pivot, which so many have talked about.

Looking ahead, as well as thinking of this issue, I’ve challenged myself to utilize the lessons from the most recent path to make myself better. Not perfect, but better. For me that always begins with fitness and while I love to be outside, I also like to see the reward of calorie burn … so on the treadmill I went.

I’ve also taken the time to arrange for lunch and coffee dates with friends I’ve truly missed, socializing feeds my soul and laughter, well, it is the best medicine.

In addition, corny as it may sound, each morning when I wake I reflect on the day before and what I could have done different or better. I’ve also stopped letting the anger of others get the best of me. Whether we realize it or not, we remain in an angry time, as people are still recovering from the lack of … well, everything. 

I recognized that anger in myself not that long ago and it saddened me. My life is a good life; I’m blessed in many ways. I shared my concern about this with my mother who, being the sounding board that she is, shared it made perfect sense given the year I’ve had.

I’d like to say I was at peace with that, but I’m not. So now as I look to the final months of 2021, I’m simply checking back in with myself and getting back to basics and then rebuild from there. We’re never too old, experienced or knowledgeable to not strive for better.

This quote I happened upon recently pretty much sums it up: “The happiest people I know are evaluating and improving themselves. The unhappy people are usually evaluating and judging others.” – Unknown