Letter from the Editor: Year End 2021
This editor’s letter comes to you from a high-speed train ride through the Spanish plains as I trek from Madrid to Barcelona with my daughter. Before typing these first few sentences, I reviewed the last 7.5 years of Columbus editions to make sure not to repeat the topic I hope to tackle. It turns out, I have covered it in exactly 10% of issues! But, bear with me, because I think it is a conversation worth repeating: adventure.
My first conscious awareness of my need for adventure came in 2017. I had just dropped my bags at the Kripalu dorm in the Berkshire Mountains, where I planned to spend a long weekend alone in meditation with clean food and yoga. As my feet hit the trail leading to the labyrinth on the property, a faint and tiny voice whispered to me, “You were built for adventure.” Truly, I had never experienced anything like it and had to look around to triple-check that I was, indeed, alone. Having devoted some of my life to my faith (if teaching Sunday school and singing in the church choir count), I had definitive ideas about how God guides us - but this was entirely different than just about anything I had experienced. It took my breath away.
Since that moment, I have journeyed through a number of life changes and challenges, as we all do. Often, that identity as an adventurer has felt elusive - and, at times, I have had to encourage myself with the promise that my time would come. “When my divorce is final,” I would tell myself, or “when Maddie graduates,” or (the one to which we can all relate) “after the pandemic.” The truth is, you could just follow the “when” with some other obligation, relational dynamic, or real-world challenge like work, sickness, or responsibility. As an older and wiser friend told me when I panicked that I was irresponsibly pregnant with child number one before my husband and I had properly prepared ourselves to be parents, “if you wait until everything is perfect, you’ll never have kids.”
In the past 24 months, I have been working with two groups of friends with great intentionality to better understand myself and myself in relation with others and the world around me. Through all of my reading, journaling, observing, and discussing, I have come to believe that each of us is born with the spirit of adventure that was spoken over me on that crisp fall day. A deep longing for connection, adventure, and acceptance - this is what separates us as human beings. We often confuse ourselves with the belief that we need to understand, we need to achieve, we need to provide, and we need to prove that we can not only do it - we can do it alone. I know I did. We seek to fill the hole that we have poorly defined with things, with knowledge, and with trophies of every kind. And then one day we realize, hopefully before it is too late, that the hole is still there - no matter how much we strive.
This is by no means an earth-shattering or new philosophy, friends. I know that. But, it is real-talk for this mid-lifer, and I am grateful for the awareness and shift in perspective that haves allowed me to embrace life itself as an adventure… .a messy, ever-changing, ever-surprising adventure. Moment-by-moment, I have found myself reassuring the that well-conditioned Amelia who wants to finish the next work project, support one of my kids or friends, and make sure my retirement account looks healthy. That doesn’t mean I have chucked responsible thinking and doing - it just means that I am starting to live with a little abandon before it is too late to do any living at all.
In this issue, you will read about Maddie Ford - an impressive New Albany High School senior who is living her life to the fullest, despite very real challenges. You will read about an alternative snowbird destination as we report on the luxury options in arid Arizona, about how you can engage with the reopening of the arts scene, and of course, you will have a chance to check out pictures from the society events that are starting to occur with more regularity.
As we wind down another year together, my hope for you is for the awareness of our collective need for connection, adventure, and acceptance - and that you are able to give and receive each of those gifts in a community filled with grace and love.