Letter from Publisher
Co-publishers Kim and Teona celebrate friendship
February is a month we naturally think of love, sparked by stores filled with Valentine’s Day cards, gifting ideas and red hearts everywhere. Love can take infinite forms, from romantic partnerships and familial relationships to nourishing companionships and everything in-between.
Yet a common thread through them all is friendship, a base of mutual regard and affection. In this month’s feature article, “The Power of Friendship: It Sustains, Nourishes and Supports Us,” writer Judith Fertig explores how friendships are not only great contributors to happiness but can also improve our health, and overall well-being.
I recently came across a study dealing with the impact of social relationships on the risk of earlier mortality. A meta-analysis of 148 studies, published by researchers at Brigham Young University, concluded that creating social connections may also be one of the secrets of longevity. It turns out that the positive effect on individual health produced by regular social contact is about equal to that of regulating blood pressure, smoking, alcohol intake, obesity and diet. Sign me up for the friendship pool!
Individual bonds formed early in life can mature and extend through decades, with visits or calls erasing lapsed time and long distances. Adult siblings often turn into trusted advisors and close friends, with exclusively shared history, traditions and memories. New activities bring new opportunities to be a friend and enlarge or refresh friendship circles.
I love how a group of friends can constitute a community, with commonality of background, work or interests drawing people into closer relationship. Several years ago, Kim and I decided to invite a group of similar stage-of-life neighbors and friends to come together for an evening of “nibbles and sips.” Our inaugural adults-only event led to an ongoing tradition and continues in game nights, themed parties and holiday dinners. We’ve dubbed ourselves the “Top of the Hill” gang.
What began as purely social gatherings of comrades centered on “eat, drink, play” has evolved into a trusted extended family that enjoys living life together. As the years un-folded and bonds deepened, we’ve found ourselves sharing heartfelt affection, compassion and trust through life’s celebrations and laughter, as well as significant losses and tears. Through it all, we’ve all grown and been enriched.
While friendships can be harder to nurture in our evolving online social world and whirlwind of daily activity, the effort is well worth it. The valuable companionships we form can support us throughout life’s journey. Beyond the love we feel for others, I believe that happiness and fulfillment begins in first loving ourselves. Dr. Sue Morter, founder of the Morter Institute for Bio-Energetics in Carmel, expands on this concept in her thought-provoking contribution, “The Most Magnificent Friendship of All.”
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, let’s embrace love in all its forms and reflect on those special people in our lives. Love yourself enough to shine and share your big heart as you celebrate those you love.
Teona Wright, Publisher