SUMMER'S END EDITOR'S LETTER
This Summer’s End issue of Sophisticated Living Columbus marks the start of our 8th year of publishing in central Ohio and my 9th anniversary with the magazine as a national contributor. It also happens to coincide with the start of my 5th decade of life.
In no way could I have imagined the peace, gratitude, and optimism with which I would ring in my 50th birthday and 7th anniversary of SL Columbus. In some ways this issue fittingly honors a portion of the community of new and old friends who have encouraged me in moments was I sure the magazine (or I) wouldn’t make it: Amanda Young, Markéta Leeuwenburg, Lisa Hinson, Brain Kent Jones, Ron Pizzuti - just a few of the many folks whose words of affirmation or practical support have kept us going.
The truth is, I have dreaded 50 until 2020 hit. For years, 50 felt like it would be the beginning of the end...my mother-in-law wasn't even 50 when I got married! In 2019, anticipating all of the feelings and being the good planner that I am, I set about designing my very own jubilee - which seemed totally appropriate given that my (young adult) children have my contact information saved in their phones as “Queen Amelia.” Those in the know will understand that a jubilee is a celebration of the 50th year, which means it starts at the 49th and culminates on the 50th anniversary. For my jubilee, I would fly to Thailand to meet up with my daughter at the end of her summer 2020 study abroad in India. I'd head to the Pacific Northwest to move my third child to college, catching a National Park on the trip (ok, this one did happen). I would hit Costa Rica with my (then) significant other, who had made several trips there in the past and talked enthusiastically about sharing it with me. A girls’ trip that had not yet come together, and the holidays in Europe were among the ideas rounding out this year of celebration I had imagined. But, a little virus called Covid-19 had other plans.
Instead, I spent the 50th year of my life developing a lot of gratitude for simple pleasures and basic provision that normally I have taken for granted. Oh the anticipation and excitement I felt with that hug I was able to give one of my closest friends, after she had been isolated for 15 months due to an unexpected cancer diagnosis and stem cell transplant. I’m remembering fondly the long drives my girls and I took - just to get out of the house in the complete shutdown last year. There were weekly zoom meetings with several friend groups, hikes at metro parks that seemed more like an amusement park in peak season than an urban recreation area, and a strengthening of community and resilience among my partners in the magazine. And then my sailing career - ahhhh! It wasn’t Europe, but this summer on Hoover has provided a whole lot of joy. One of the loves of my life - volunteering as auctioneer and emcee for my favorite nonprofits took on a new twist as my living room became a studio for virtual performances until the beloved Nina West and I were able to team up in person and unmasked (thank you vaccine!) for a fundraiser this May. This welcome change in perspective has also seen me through more than a few tough times these past several months - ending a significant relationship, wrestling with unprocessed trauma of years past, weathering construction that took my girls and me down to one shower for two months (it is no small miracle that no fists flew, in fact most days the situation was met with laughter), and most recently the loss of a mentor and friend whose words ring so true for me today: “It’s taken a long time to learn that I don’t have to be all the things I thought I had to be.”
The turning of the calendar has never seemed as momentous for me as others have described, but this time feels a little different. A deeper sense of identity, purpose, and gifts has settled in, and I am learning to embrace emotions, circumstances, and people that I may have previously judged. That doesn’t mean I have given up on the jubilee - it was just postponed, and may take a slightly different course. Here’s to more people getting vaccinated, to more of life getting back to normal, and to embracing where we are as where we are supposed to be.