Publisher’s Letter: How Will This Change Us?

By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

Unlike hurricanes, forest fires, earthquakes, volcanoes, or other acts of nature, this pandemic shows no signs of stopping any time soon. One would hope that in our lifetime we never again have to live with such stress and uncertainty over such an extended period of time — but who can be certain as mankind encroaches more and more on nature, burning down rain forests in Brazil and blowing off mountain tops in West Virginia. We’ve made our mark and as a result, some scientists believe that we’ve brought unknown aspects of nature closer and closer to us.

As this global pandemic continues to unfold, it can produce in us fairly easily identifiable signs of stress. And for these, we can do much to alleviate these symptoms once we’ve encountered them. Well before this pandemic, the pace of modern life caused many folks to lose sleep, overeat as a coping mechanism, and miss out on important aspects of life that are lost to stressed-out people. A lot has been written about how to improve our immune system, get better sleep, get more exercise, meditate, and go for counseling if we believe we may benefit from discovering new information about ourselves.

But for most of us, never before having faced a life-threatening challenge like a global pandemic, there may be new long term effects that as of yet, have not been mentioned. For example, how will all this stress and uncertainty change us as individuals over time? Will we “contract” becoming more fearful and less willing to take “worthy risks?” Note: A “worthy risk” might be starting a new company, investing in or inventing a new product, or moving to a place we always wanted to live. It may be making a romantic commitment to a long term partner and finally asking them to marry. It may be taking on the challenge of having a family.

Hospice nurses report that people facing the end of their lives often have regrets. What can we do and what decisions can we make so as to have few, if any regrets when the end of our time on the planet finally rolls around?

Surprisingly, some answers to leading a more expansive and even exciting life can be found in a few easy practices. For example, especially during a time like this, it can be helpful to keep a journal as to your thoughts and emotions on a day-to-day basis — it’s an act of respect for yourself and what you are experiencing and can even lead to better sleep. Another practice comes from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron — “the artist’s date.” You don’t have to be an artist to benefit from this practice of once a week going by yourself to a new place bringing along a small notebook for your observations. It needn’t be a far off place, just new to your experience.

You can also plan a trip by train reserving a room or roomette. Few modes of public transit are more private than this. With the most breathtaking scenery, during parts of the trip, the train travels through areas where you are surrounded by nothing but nature.

Perhaps it all goes back as a reminder to check your bucket list and if you’ve never made one, now’s a better time than most.

Though at this moment in time, life may be quite challenging, we all need something to look forward to — so get busy either checking or creating that bucket list — and start doing your research so that you can look forward to and check off an adventure you always wanted to take!



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Blaine Howerton


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