for the better
There is no disputing that these are unpredictable times. Everything we thought we knew has been turned on its head, from the economy to public falls from grace. If one did believe the hype that the world was coming to an end recently, there sure was a lot of supporting evidence. Things haven’t stopped churning long enough for any of us to decide what our “new normal” looks like, much less who we will be.
Yet, I was re-energized as I read about Billy Olson and how he came into his own after finally finding that the Wood River Valley is his place in the world, and how Jerry and Varda Goldman followed their hearts’ mission in entertaining children. And Herman Maricich, who saw emerald in the ice where others were focused on the gold from the snow. I found a tenacity in these people coupled with an environment that encourages creative lives and heralds second chances, and I began to wonder when and why do we grow so hell-bent afraid of taking a do-over?
When we were in the schoolyard, the most thorough eraser of all missteps was the yelling of “That didn’t count! Do-over!” before someone else declared, “Next! You’re out! Wrong answer!”
Yet, not long after that, we are cautioned that you only get one chance. One chance at acing that test. One chance at a first impression. And, most forebodingly, one shot at living this life.
And some believe it and carpe diem.
And some allow for a do-over as long as it applies to someone else.
We’ll tell a friend that she wasn’t wrong for using that economic stimulus check for a family trip to Disneyland—that even though there were layoffs at work and that money could have gotten the family car back, she was living in the moment.
And then we tell a friend who has received a death sentence by cancer that it’s time to start an “I never” list. Six months, or six minutes, it’s always plenty of time for a do-over.
For me, not having room for do-overs was my way of keeping myself in check and on track. Having to do it right the first time left me only the depths of despair to plummet into when I didn’t.
I have a lineage of this. A mother, for example, who declared, without one whit of guilt, that should she die, her dog was to be put to sleep because no one alive would take care of him like she did. And a father, who though he was always a second-chance kind of guy, ultimately fell into a depression so deep that he chose to kill himself rather than live with his mistakes.
So, in my mind, giving in was giving up. Giving up was not a try again, but an epic fail.
While editing this magazine, I was, like so many of you, experiencing a complete upheaval thanks to the economy and the lack of good influence it has had on my life. I’ve also had some challenging health issues, and the cumulative effect of an abundance of bad decisions and bad luck has forced a giant do-over.
Because of this community and the way it regards life, rather than flee, my family chooses to stay and fight through this uncertainty. Like Olson, we believe we are in the place that understands us for who we are and embraces—without judgment—our abilities to rise again, smarter and stronger than before. We believe this community wants us to succeed, and that we all can if we lean on each other and carry on until this recession abates.
I’m currently in the acceptance stage of grieving. I’m even looking at the positives of this series of monumental changes.
I have realized that I have the ability to undo the culmination of some thinking, right- hearted as it was, and see this time for what it is, a chance to make educated choices, with a good dose of realism.
A do-over doesn’t mean doing it again. That’s impossible, but I think I can do it better, or at least, differently.
Sometimes, a do-over is given to you whether you want it or not. Lately though, I am realizing the only one on the playground saying
“Next!” was me.
That’s what I got from reading about these interesting, flawed, glorious, off-the-beaten path people featured here. I hope you find some catalysts for reflection, too.
Photo by Elizabeth Belts Kauffmann
The Sun Valley Guide
Publisher Pam Morris
Interim editor Jennifer Liebrum
Art director Tony Barriatua
Copy editor Barbara Perkins
Jason D.B. Kauffman, Jennifer Liebrum , Greg Moore
Sabina Dana Plasse, Van Gordon Sauter
Ad production Colin McCauley
Web site design Colin McCauley
Chief Photographer David N. Seelig
Willy Cook, Elizabeth Belts Kauffman
Dev Khalsa, Hillary Maybery
Paulette Phlipot, Kirsten Schultz
Business manager Connie Johnson
Marketing/sales director Ben Varner firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior account exec William Pattnosh
Gayle Kerr, Irene Robinson
Jerry Seiffert, Matt Ward
Western Publications Association
Best Semi-Annual/3-Time Consumer Magazine
Best Semi-Annual/3-Time Consumer Magazine
Best News Story/Consumer Magazine
Idaho Press Club Awards 2010
1st place, General Excellence: Winter 2010/2011
1st place, Serious Feature: Jason D.B. Kauffman
1st place, Light Feature: Trevon Milliard,
Van Gordon Sauter, Jennifer Tuohy
1st place, Magazine Column: Van Gordon Sauter
1st place, Magazine Cover:
Tony Barriatua: Winter 2010/2011
1st place, Web Site General Excellence:
3rd place, Serious Feature: Jason D.B. Kauffman
Idaho Press Club Awards, 2009
1st place, General Excellence
1st place, Web Site General Excellence
1st place, Magazine Cover
1st, 2nd & 3rd place, Light Feature
1st, 2nd & 3rd place, Magazine Column
3rd place, Serious Feature