Building Community

The beginning of a New Year is always an ideal time for reflection on the past… and goal setting for the future. A year ago, I felt high anxiety about the coming year—and despite 2016’s many ups and downs, it ended much better than I’d imagined.

I started out reading Marie Kondo’s bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and “tidy up” is what I tried to do: cleaning out closets, organizing electronics, rearranging cupboards and drawers, painting rooms and planning for a mid-summer office move were all on my agenda. Scheduled workouts helped me stay healthy and in balance. When an unexpected illness slowed me down for a couple of months, I was forced to learn patience and think about the things that are most important to me.

I met new friends, tried new experiences and was able to travel a bit. One of the highlights of my year was joining our sister-city group in Friedrichshafen, Germany in October—a wonderful cultural exchange with a great group of Peoria friends. I learned that expressing gratitude on a daily basis helps my perspective on life immensely. Meanwhile, keeping a regular journal helped me focus on the positive—and sometimes helped me solve problems.

I also realized how personally rewarded I feel when we can bring people together through our various magazines and related events. I enjoy connecting our Women of Influence, shining a light on the Best of Peoria, showcasing the Community Impact of area nonprofits, hearing the incredible stories of our Local Legends, and learning about the busy and diverse lives of our 40 Leaders Under Forty. Here in Art & Society, we try to cover the many things that make the Greater Peoria region so unique—from the visual arts to the performing arts, from nonprofit social events to the latest arts and cultural activities.

Most of all, we believe in building community… That’s what Peoria Magazines is all about.

As I consider the year ahead, I think about volunteering for causes I’m passionate about. I think about creating new, positive experiences for family and friends. And I feel much gratitude to all of you.

What’s your challenge for the New Year? How can you help make our community a better place to live in 2017? a&s