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How's your level of trust these days? I ask because "trust" is my word for 2017.
Perhaps you know that in lieu of making New Year's resolutions, I choose a word as a focus for the coming year. At the beginning of 2017, I reflected on how "trust" would play out in my life. So now, with more than half of the year gone, I'm checking in on these musings.
I trusted that I would be doing purposeful work that affords me both financial stability and does good for other people. Work of almost any kind - including volunteering, caregiving, raising a family - does good for other people, and my trust in this concept led me to reframe my career with a national nonprofit organization based in the Denver area. And I trust in the ways I can contribute to our mission.
I trusted that I would be worthy of the trust of others - people I love and people who love me, people I admire, people of integrity and decency. Some of you have written to tell me that I have achieved this, and some of you have had the exact opposite reaction. As I told someone else recently, I have to speak my truth, and I trust that you will do the same.
I trusted that I would be gladdened, saddened, angered, touched and moved throughout the year, and that I will handle all of these with aplomb. I'm not sure "aplomb" would describe how I've moved through these glad, sad, angry and profound moments, but for most of us who are faced with adversity - whether or not it's of our own making or in our control - the sun also rises.
I trusted that I would make other people happy and that, when I would inevitably anger or sadden others, I would have carefully considered the outcomes. I've made some of these choices this year, and although their outcomes were not always predictable, I've dealt with the consequences, both good and not so much.
I trusted that I would make a difference in at least one person's life, and that I will be aware of and grateful for the presence of others in mine. And, as it does, life has provided me both opportunities. I'm guessing you'll agree with me that helping someone else is just as satisfying - perhaps even more satisfying - that receiving help ourselves.
I have trusted that peace will come to more people and to more places on the earth in 2017. Instead, though, in Venezuela and Turkey and despotic states throughout the world, authoritarian rule is running amok, dictators are consolidating power, and the burgeoning popularity of nationalistic populism is generating fear and suspicion around the globe.
I have trusted that the checks and balances in our system of government would function as they are meant to function in a democracy. I continue to trust in the foresight of our Founding Fathers to establish three branches of government, and I am seeing some glimmers that I will be rewarded.
Despite this, I have become deeply mistrustful of what I see and hear. It's as if no one cares about being trustworthy, as if trust is blindly assigned rather than earned.
But I care. Do you?
Andrea Doray is a writer who usually trusts first, until proven wrong. Contact her at email@example.com.
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