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by Genevieve Mellott

What is real‭? ‬What is meaningful‭? ‬If you had asked me those questions a few years ago‭, ‬I might have pointed out some heavy news‭ ‬stories‭. ‬I might have thought about the meaning of life or something philosophical‭. ‬It often seems the concepts of reality and meaning carry a very serious connotation‭.‬

Yet‭, ‬a year ago I decided to start a magazine‭. ‬If I wanted a dose of supposed‭ ‬“reality‭,‬”‭ ‬I could have reaped tons of material from conversations on social media‭. ‬That would have been easy‭. ‬Controversy is normal‭. ‬But‭ ‬ask anybody who knows me‭ – ‬I’m not normal‭. ‬Nor am I an eternal optimist‭. (‬With my level of sarcasm‭, ‬I can be pretty good at infuriating people‭.) ‬I had a choice‭. ‬I could risk doing something different from the times at hand or play into the surge of panic‭, ‬politics‭, ‬and division‭. ‬

You’re looking at the seventh bimonthly issue of‭ ‬Carbon Valley Life‭;‬‭ ‬I count it as proof that people need positive realism‭. ‬That means dream while acknowledging your circumstances and do what you‭ ‬can to move past negative hangups‭. ‬“The Dog Days of Summer”‭ ‬issue is a tribute to a local reality‭: ‬our Valley people have tons of pets‭. ‬The theme also sounds like I feel during summer‭: ‬tired and invigorated all at the same time‭. ‬The fact is pets‭, ‬even though they chew our shoes or get hairballs or molt in their cages‭, ‬make people happy‭. ‬They truly add something positive to our lives‭.‬

There’s an old tech idea‭: ‬“Garbage In‭, ‬Garbage Out‭.‬”‭ ‬It refers to entering bad coding or data into computers‭, ‬but it is also true with individuals‭. ‬If all we put into our minds is‭ ‬darkness and hurt and hate‭, ‬what comes out of our lives is often a mess‭. ‬GIGO‭. ‬What if we take things into our minds that are hopeful and helpful and inspiring‭? ‬Well‭, ‬when it’s time for us to give back‭, ‬those are the kinds of things we are putting back out into the world‭.‬

I want to humbly leave you with a couple of truths that have taken me way too long to learn‭. ‬First‭, ‬don’t confuse‭ ‬“uplifting”‭ ‬with‭ ‬“uneducated”‭ ‬or‭ ‬“shocking”‭ ‬with‭ ‬“enlightened‭.‬”‭ ‬Second‭, ‬have an opinion along with the sense to know you’re not the only person entitled to one‭. ‬Wisdom comes with talking about important things in respectful ways‭.‬

This publication isn’t journalistic gold‭. ‬However‭, ‬status as provocative or explosive doesn’t guarantee a thing is meaningful and real‭. ‬I hope that the information you take away from our little local magazine‭, ‬even when‭ ‬the issues are fun and lighthearted‭, ‬is meaningful and real to‭ ‬you‭ ‬because that’s what matters‭. ‬Thank you for being part of it‭. ‬And until next time‭, ‬enjoy the read‭.‬

Genevieve lives in Firestone with her husband‭, ‬three kids‭, ‬and three dogs‭. ‬Her hobbies include gardening‭, ‬creative endeavors‭, ‬and dust collecting‭.‬