Editor’s Note 2013

Amy WeaverI love the energy of the city—after 10 years, it’s safe to say I’m hooked on it. But I grew up in a quieter space, a greener space. I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire with black water rivers and rope swings and endless dirt roads. There’s something about returning home, returning to family and to the humbling White Mountains, that brings me back to myself in a way nothing else can. Even after an eight-hour, solitary drive…I am renewed.

I was reminded of the importance of these moments this spring at the College’s Distinguished Lecture. Our speaker, Arianna Huffington, said something along these lines: the world is full of talented leaders who fail to achieve greatness because they overlook the value of rest.

When she said this, the audience nodded in unison, exhaling a deep longing breath of exhaustion and understanding. We’re overworked and overly plugged-in. We feel it, consciously or not, in our tight shoulders, our weary imaginations. And in that rush to empty our inboxes, to run from one meeting to another, we can forget how important it is to slow down, to step back, to remember why we do what we do and who we do it for.

Too often, if we do manage to take this time—to vacation with family or recover from illness—we fail to fully disengage. We find ourselves absentmindedly checking emails and social media, not fully present in the moment, not fully connected or listening or giving.

But work without rest is productive only for so long. Eventually, it takes its toll. Eventually, we have less to offer the world.

When we put together this year’s Ask magazine, we had Huffington’s words in mind. We wanted to explore how people stay inspired even amidst the commotion and noise of every day life.

What we found, unsurprisingly, is that there is no single way. And yet, as we edited every seemingly unique article, similar sentiments kept repeating. Many spoke of sharing stories—of listening and retelling the stories of others to inspire change and growth and innovation. Others spoke of solitary journeys— of pushing their body to its athletic limits, challenging themselves to go beyond their own expectations.

But whether refueled by a connection to others or through quiet moments alone, each pursuit requires a common condition: that we be fully present in the moment.

It’s not a shocking revelation (there’s a reason why Be Here Now has sold over 2 million copies). But while the news may not truly be news, it is an ever-important reminder, nonetheless: the path to greatness is not a straight shot—it’s a long drive and it’s going to require a few rest stops.

Sincerely,
Amy M. Weaver
Director of Marketing and Communications College of Arts and Sciences

PS –This year marks an exciting step in the evolution of Ask magazine: a new logo, a new layout and an overall new approach. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.