At the risk of stating the obvious, this year has been bizarre and not terribly great for many people. And I won’t be ridiculously flagrant by actually naming the reason. Lord knows we’re all sick of seeing and hearing that word. I, for one, will be glad to say adios to 2020 and ring in the new year. However, I am painfully aware that the shifting of a number on the calendar will have little effect on the status of the many issues we have going on in the world around us.
I’ve communicated with many of our local business people over the last few months, and it is not only eye-opening, it is heartbreaking how many of them have suffered devastating loss. Many feel dejected and defeated. And sadly, many will not survive this.
There are people in our community who have suffered personal loss—they may not own their own businesses, but they have been laid-off from work, suffered health-wise, or lost loved ones. And the isolation and fear that comes from quarantine mandates makes it hard for these people to reach out for help. Most people are social creatures and crave companionship, and when that option is removed, there is bound to be some mental health fallout.
This holiday season, if you are able, please frequent our local retail, restaurant and service-based establishments. They need all the help we can give them and, in fact, the winter months after the holidays are normally the roughest, so share a little love throughout those cold, dark months as well. We want these places to still be around once things start to get back to normal, and the only way for that to happen is to keep them off the struggle bus as much as possible now.
For those of you who are silently struggling along mentally, please know there are many resources in our community to reach out to. And especially know that you aren’t alone! There are some people who feel awkward or self-conscious and just can’t reach out to an actual person, but at the very least, there are always inspirational apps and reading material to be found online or in print. We even have some here in this issue on pages 30 and 31. Sandy Hoban gives some great links in her article, “Alone;” and the advertorial, Find Your Path, written by Life Coach Jackie Quam, whose articles never fail to inspire me, has great insight on hardship. Please don’t just suffer in silence. You aren’t alone and there will always be people who care. Seek them out, one way or another.
Whatever you do this holiday season and beyond, I wish you wisdom, grace, joy and bountiful gifts in many forms. I leave you with a favorite quote that has gotten me through this past year:
The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true. —Carl Sagan