Hello everyone! It’s been an interesting time of transition recently. The world is still uncertain. The tourism industry in Costa Rica, where I’ve been working the past 2 years, is nonexistent, and the way ahead is deeply uncertain. And yet I can’t help but feel hopeful. A Slanted Reflection came out Sunday for audio and ebook, and as of today both Volume 0 and Volume 1 are out on paperback! We’re working on merch (an actual we, which includes the lovely and talented Emily Anne Ink) with more updates later. I’m doing the first round of director’s commentary on Sunday, and I got my first report that Wilson already finished the book and is hungry for more.
As I’ve been dabbling with a few side gigs and freelance jobs, I wanted to share a little something I wrote as a sample.
A Time of Transition
As the world reaches the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic and begins to look towards a time beyond quarantines and lockdowns, many people face a time of transition. There is often talk of a return to “normal” as we recover from this global tragedy, but the positive possibilities for change presented by this global shutdown should not be ignored.
In much of the world, this pandemic has been a wake-up call to the divides within nations, to long-neglected healthcare systems and infrastructures, and to long-simmering lifestyle issues presented by working too hard, for too long, for too little. As we slow down and stop, each of us has had time to put a lens to the lives, habits, and relationships we have built for ourselves. We have this opportunity on a global scale as well, in our businesses and in our communities.
As the world begins to move once more, this time of transition presents a possibility. A possibility to fix and reshape the systems of work, life, and communication that have left this time more divided, unhealthy, and unsatisfied than any decade in recent memory. Our technologies have moved forward with astounding pace and our world is more connected than ever before. Yet, rather than espousing empathy and passion and art, these advances have led to exploitation, misinformation, and a deep seated distrust that may take decades to heal.
A return to “normal” is not what we should seek, not individuals, not businesses, not communities and governments. Instead, we should each ask ourselves how we can build a better normal, one that enhances our personal wellbeing, and connects us to nature and to each other.
In my time living in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, I worked for a town called Las Catalinas, under a man named Charles Brewer whose vision for a new way of life led him to hold cars at a distance, and build a town that countered nearly every commonly held convention of development. There would be no walls, no gates, no barriers to entry. Beachfront would be cherished and enhanced for all people who visited, rather than just the few who could afford property nearby, and nearly 80% of the land in the project would be set aside to remain undeveloped as a rejuvenated tropical dry forest reserve.
The town placed people and craftsmanship and nature at the forefront, rather than quick profit, and this decision has led to a place that has a lasting, enduring value. Las Catalinas was founded just before the stock market crashed in the late 2000s, and yet when development fled Costa Rica, leaving behind half-built ghost towns and ambitious-yet-abandoned projects that still dot the coast, Las Catalinas remained. It endured, because it was a place founded on lasting, timeless principles that have a powerful value beyond just the dollar.
The travel industry’s shutdown hit Las Catalinas hard this year, but the town will endure as it has endured, and it will grow stronger because it has captured those simple principles — valuing community, nature, personal wellbeing, and the great beauty of people and their ideas.
As we reach the depths of this quarantine and begin to push towards the other side, there is an opportunity here for reflection, for personal growth, personal change, personal introspection. Rather than set out to simply return to normal, ask instead how we can rise stronger, healthier, and more connected, both in our personal lives and in our now-global communities. Especially in a time of such tragedy and uncertainty, it is the most powerful way we can rise strong.