Vail Daily column: ‘What will you NOT miss?’
Ask me what I’ll miss leaving the Vail Valley next week, and I’ll tell you “everything!”
What will I not miss? “Nothing. No one.”
Yes, so politic, even diplomatic. But also true. I swear.
I’m not trying to declare sainthood here. Maybe my memory’s not what it used to be. Maybe I’m too sunny side up to consider the dark. Maybe I’ve turned circumspect — re: maturing — in my dotage.
Seriously, though, I can’t think of anything or anyone I won’t miss here.
What, I won’t miss snow and cold? I won’t miss difficult people? I won’t miss all the professional and personal challenges that just come with life? I won’t miss my critics?
Don’t be absurd. This is all part of the stew of living here for nearly 17 years. Take away the spice and it’s not the same.
I’ll miss the folks who don’t care much for me, who are vocal in their criticism, who may scorn my very soul. We all have our detractors, especially when our role in a society includes voicing opinions in a publication nearly everyone reads.
I might miss my friends more, of course. But people who don’t like you or criticize you or don’t give you a second’s notice are valuable, too. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They’re teachers and guides in their own ways.
I believe small-town journalism is a higher bar than the supposed major leagues precisely because of critics. Or at least your proximity to them.
People tend to know when you got it wrong. And they’re far more likely to tell you directly.
Yes, it’s the same with praise, too. Criticism, though, especially when the critic is dead on right, humbles you and makes you pay a lot more attention.
Critics test your courage, pop arrogance like a balloon, inspire you to look deeper, consider more points of view, help make you better.
To miss them would be to not get the lesson as a critic myself. I’d better understand what it’s like to be criticized, misunderstood, called out true on my mistakes.
There are some things I’d like to not miss — costs too high, pay too low, the mess of social ills. These and no doubt other issues await at my next assignment, this being real life and all. If everything were perfect, though, what would we have to try to solve or at least write about?
I’m thinking primarily about this as a columnist. But the lessons apply to every supervisor, too. So much of leading depends on finding the sweet spot between support and correction to make an enterprise better. Then being second-guessed, as should be.
This goes for whole communities, too. And this one is pretty special. There’s nothing I won’t miss about this place. Thanks for everything. Really.
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