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Happy Birthday, Inspire(d)!

By Aryn Henning Nichols

The very first Inspire(d) Magazine rolled off the press October 4, 2007. Happy birthday to this experiment in positive news!

Today, we celebrate 15 years of positive news! Woot! At year 10, we compiled a list of 10 things we had found to be true through our decade of work. We thought it would be fun to keep adding things to this list every five years. Cheers to sharing the good stuff in the world!

Here’s what I wrote in 2017, updated for 2022:

I had my camera out the other day, and Benji asked me, “What are you shooting?”

“Oh, unicorn stuff,” I replied.

It’s all unicorn stuff to me though, really.

As of 2022, we’ve been making this magazine for 15 years! Adding that second digit at year 10 blew my mind (we won’t get to add another digit for another 90 years – at year 100!), but the heft of 15 feels pretty great as well. I’m pretty proud of this experiment in positive news, and grateful for all your support!

…(Try not to cry, like me, right now)……

Driving around the countryside, delivering magazines – literal stacks of positive news – to the amazing people of the Driftless Region, you get some time to think (don’t get me wrong – Benji Nichols does most of the Inspire(d) delivery, but I do a few select routes and love to ponder life, love, and, you know…the pursuit of happiness).

I always think a lot about Inspire(d), what we hope to do going forward, and what creating local, positive news has taught us over the years. What’s important? What is true? What do we need to do to make the world a better place?

Answers to these questions are seemingly subjective, but there are certain things we feel stand out as indisputable truths (hint, people and community are at the root of it all).

Thank you so much for reading Inspire(d), my friends. Let’s keep sending those ripples of positivity out into the world, one community at a time. XOXO – Aryn

In 2017, here’s what we wrote we had learned through our work with Inspire(d).

1. People are what matters. And all people matter.

2. A community of people – no matter the size – is one of the most valuable things we can build. Our relationships and connections and experiences with people will be most important and memorable at the end of our lives.

3. People want to be heard. We should listen. Remember the “response time” teachers use with students. Apply it in life. Pause. Give people time to think and respond.

4. Technology can be useful, but face-to-face time is still essential.

5. No one wants their kids to be jerks. Fostering our kids kindness is the most important thing we can do as parents.

Paper Cake from 2010 cover of Inspire(d) Magazine
The paper cake we made for our birthday cover in 2010! / Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols

6. Supporting your neighbor’s businesses helps grow local economy and build community.

7. Good food – vegetables and fruit and other healthy stuff – makes us feel good. So does exercise. We’ve got to take care of ourselves if we want to enjoy life, so these two things are top priorities!

8. Travel gives us a new perspective, helping us appreciate where we live, understand how other people live, and remember how amazingly beautiful this region, state, country, and world are. Seriously, we’ve gotta enjoy this life and see as much as possible. Through travel we gain empathy, insight, and experience.

9. Like we need to take care of our house to keep it from falling apart, we need to take care of our planet to keep it from falling apart.

10. Getting outdoors is just as important as travel. Nature is filled with perfect designs and inspiration. Being inspired is on of the greatest gifts in this life.

New in 2022 (15 years!):

11. Just like in kindergarten, when we had to do three put-ups for one put-down, we have to do the same with positive news. Our brains are wired to be fascinated by the bad stuff. That’s okay. We just have to mindfully share the good stuff – times three – as much as possible.

12. There is WAY more good stuff in the world than bad stuff.

13. A positive mindset ebbs and flows. It’s okay to have down days. But remember: the power of positive thinking is big. Believing something is possible will make a positive outcome much more likely. And either way, it doesn’t hurt to try.

14. TRYING – and getting out of our comfort zones – will lead to more fulfilling lives.

15. There will always be problems in the world – but there will also always be solutions. Work the problem; find the solution. It is worth it. You are worth it.

Aryn Henning Nichols

Aryn Henning Nichols is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Inspire(d). She feels grateful for all the good things in the world, and loves to solve problems! She is 100% behind their mission to create a better world