Van Beek: We must stick together
Happy Valley hasn’t been so happy lately. In fact, lately it more resembles a scene from “Lord of the Flies” — raw and primal.
Yes, I understand that we had mandates that limited our direct exposure to other humans, and digital (Zoom) interactions became the norm, but honestly, how could we have forgotten so quickly the subtleties of life in 3D. Not just simple manners, but downright basic human civility.
I mention this because even simple disagreements are quickly escalating to physical altercations. Perhaps we have romanticized an Old West version of settling disputes with duels, but in reality, most of us are more talk than action because we really don’t want to injure a knee before ski season. Yet, we certainly know how to talk trash, and that talk is leading to some unfortunate actions. And even worse, it is changing the dynamic of our friendly communities.
Pandemic restrictions, economic stress and job uncertainty, children with us 24/7, and the aftermath of a highly volatile election season have made us vulnerable to the lowest and darkest parts of ourselves. If in doubt, look at the rise in mental health issues.
We all know that change generates stress, even when it’s for the better. We’ve all experienced major changes in how we work and live our daily lives, and with fall approaching, there will once again be changes, and with new variants surfacing, it may be a mixture of stressful and uncertain conditions. We must keep ourselves together. Our community depends on us. After all, it’s made up of individuals who are going through exactly the same thing.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Remember the community we love, the moments we share with neighbors, the love we have for family even when we think we’ve had enough, the smiling faces of local shop owners who instinctively know what we need, the local restaurant or pub where “everybody knows your name” … yes, life in Happy Valley could be characterized as a TV show, and that’s exactly how we like it!
Let’s return to focusing on our blessings, for living in a place that others only dream of. People save their money and plan all year just to have a peek at what we live every day.
We have more freedom in Eagle County than most do. The sheer beauty of our surroundings is breathtaking. Most of us feel incredibly safe at home and work (it’s our job to provide it), and we are also comforted in knowing that if in trouble, many, including total strangers, will step up to help. We have community organizations that are specifically designed to not only help during troubled times, but also to improve our quality of life. Everywhere we turn is someone who cares. That is truly a unique blessing.
As summer comes to an end, and children are returning to school, let us remember that they may not always do what we say, but they will definitely do what we do. Let’s make sure that our “doing” is something to be proud of. Treasure the special moments, for they are what makes each of our lives so uniquely extraordinary.
James van Beek is the Eagle County sheriff. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.