Goodbye Column

How it all began

Eight years ago, I began a life coaching business titled “The Good Life” grounded in the idea from Aristotle that when we live well and build good habits, we can begin to live a flourishing life. Through my business, I wanted to help individuals overcome the obstacles, negative thinking and bad habits that prevent them from finding the path towards fulfillment.

I reached out to the editor of this newspaper, Frank George at the time, and asked if I could write a weekly column about these ideas. Those first pieces were focused on what it means to live a flourishing life, the concept of virtue, the beauty of relationships, and obstacles such as anxiety or anger that act as roadblocks on our path.

And life happened.

After the birth of my son, it became apparent that I would not be able to be available in the way a life coach ought to be for her patients, and so I closed the business but continue writing weekly for the Hughson Chronicle & Denair Dispatch. In time, my column was reprinted in the Waterford Times and Hilmar Times.

I answered an advertisement in this paper, and became a regular reporter for Hughson, and so you’ve seen my work ever since.

It was the second editor I wrote for, Wendy Krier, who, when asked about how long my column should be, gave me a low word count for fear I’d burn out after a few months.

And now it’s been eight years.

Eight years that began with writing self-help skills and turned to a more reflective bent as I needed to help myself cope with the rougher waves of life. The focus remained the same – asking and answering the question “What does it mean to life a good life?” and celebrating the moments when we embrace it.

That life isn’t lived in isolation.

You’ve read adventures with my children, stories celebrating tradition and moments of contemplation. As time has gone on and despite our challenges, I see the good we’ve been able to live out in our home, I’ve wanted to share that with you in case some aspect of it might be helpful. I hope to bring that out in writing.

It can be so easy to feel like the good life is unobtainable when you’re living in Hughson, California or any other small town, when you haven’t loads of money or access to resources or experiences, that you have to go away to experience life in its fullness. I do not believe that is true and with this column I have striven to show that.

Last month it was brought to my attention that MidValley Publications would like this column to go in a different direction and focus instead on storytelling or sharing the people and features of this community, which I already do through news reporting and weekly features. The Publisher no longer wanted musings or book reviews, even if they were local in nature by being brought to the community though a local resident.

The column as it was would cease to exist.

Some years back I began republishing my column here on this blog. Writing and subjects became consistent. I published regularly missing only the odd week when I mixed up my publishing dates. I wrote through grief, through the birth of babies, through times of leisure and times of never-ending work.

Without the deadline of the newspaper, I’m not sure how the shape of this blog will change. A few ideas are to continue book and event reviews, recapping local church events, literary discussions and digressions and a platform for poetry.

It’s a grand adventure, but, to be honest, I’m not sure that I can make it work. So while I process this rebranding, please be patient, and let me know in the comments what your favorite type of content has been.