Resilience is the new happiness

As the bears come out of hibernation and take over the stock market, our chair lifts stop spinning, Moab becomes a distant dream, and our world reorganizes, there’s no place I’d rather be right now than East Jackson with my kids and, thanks to my brother-in-law, 42 rolls of toilet paper. I hope these crazy times are treating you like they are treating me – which is with an unprecedented time to slow down and stop doing and reconnect with the people, things, and actions that matter most. Last night as I was sandwiched between my kids on the couch doing back scratches and watching Top Gun, I reveled not in fear but instead in gratitude.  

Last fall I was interviewed by Sorayah Ziem, a 7th grader at the Mountain Academy, for a project for her humanities class. They were investigating the question: what does it mean to be human? They had read the book The Giver which taught them, according to her, that “to be human means to be able to feel all emotions, experience the freedom of choice and its consequences, and live life to its fullest.” Inspired by a documentary called 7 Billion Others, her class conducted interviews of 120 people the same 32 questions and their project is analyzing the answers to discover what it means to be human, according to people who live in the Tetons. 

In response to 2 of her 32 questions (What did you learn from your parents?” and “What do you want to teach your children?) I had the same, simple answer: Resilience. The ability to pivot. The “capacity to withstand shock without permanent deformation or rupture.” 

Wild, resilient, and peaceful are just a few of the characteristics I believe embody this community and will lead us through this crisis and into a better future. The concept of stewardship – responsibly caring for the things we value as a path to realizing our dreams – is key here. Taking proper care of our children, healthy choices for our bodies, and using our natural resources responsibly are the obvious examples – but there’s so much more we can offer. To share your ideas on how you and your loved ones are pivoting during the current crisis and well beyond, I invite you to visit and engage with the new community-driven Facebook Group “tetonstrong.” The idea is to facilitate a community conversation and share resources to nourish each other along our quest for healthy, fulfilling, sustainable, lives. In the meantime, stay strong, stay wild, stay peaceful. 

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