The Way I See It...

Publisher's Letter 

Robin Rogers, Ed.D.

I’ve been thinking a lot about health recently: the health of my body and mind, the health of my business, the health of my family, the health of my relationships.

Last year, I had a couple of health scares: seemingly unexplainable symptoms and too-high blood test results had me panicking. “I feel like I’m circling the drain,” I told a confidant.

This fear was partly motivated by all of the death I dealt with in 2018. In March, my best friend, Linda Miller Smith, died unexpectedly, without warning or explanation. Her exit wrecked me, and her absence still colors my days. My family also suffered the loss of a caretaker, as well as my daughter’s beloved service dog, Pip. For months, we were in a constant state of grieving.

I also spent a lot of 2018 stressed out about work. Last year was the 25th anniversary of Four States Living Magazine, and the special issues and celebration were beautiful and brought me a lot of joy—but they were also a lot of work. The FSLM team spent many, many extra nights at the office, pouring through old issues and crafting new ones, giving it our all. It was rewarding and hard. And, getting organized for the 25th anniversary party where we showcased all of the 300+ covers at TRAHC was STRESSful.

As most know, stress compounds fear. Stress makes your body produce adrenaline and cortisol, those neurotransmitters that once successfully told us, “Hey, there’s a lion—you better run!” But now it builds up in our systems, causing physical pain and mental anguish; it tells us that there’s a lion right around the corner, but we don’t know what it is or which direction to run. Stress in the modern era is awful and nightmarish.

There is also, of course, the anxiety that comes with being a mom. My youngest, Briley, is 17 and getting ready to head off to college. And, as many of you know from experience, the pre-college season is wrought with questions: What school is the right school? Which

financial aid package is best for us? How’s that ACT score looking? Is he ready to leave the nest? Am I ready for him to leave the nest? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Needless to say: I’ve been struggling a bit.

But I need not look far to see the gears that have kept turning despite my freak-outs, the people who have seen me “circling the drain” and have pulled me back onto my feet.

On the medical front, I’ve taken so much comfort in knowing that Texarkana is full of competent and incredible doctors, nurses, and other practitioners. If any of my health care providers are reading this, they are likely bored at this point, because they are so intimately aware of my neuroses—and they are so talented at soothing them. I am happy and relieved to say that, thanks to them, my physical health is fine; my numbers look good, and I’m pretty confident that I’ll be around to embarrass my children for decades to come.

And while there’s no cure for the grief of losing a loved one, there is a salve that helps relieve some of the pain, and that’s community. When Linda left me, she really left us: her dear husband, the rest of her family, and her friends, whom she referred to as her tribe. The tribe has rallied around each other, hosting regular get-togethers, supporting each other in new endeavors, recounting old memories and making new ones. We try every day to fill the void that Linda left in the world—and, while we’ll never fully succeed, that motivation and desire to emulate her radiance and chutzpah and pure love has made missing her a little bit easier, at least for me.

With my business, too, I’m enjoying a nice exhale. We recently welcomed back an incredibly gifted account manager, Cassy Meisenheimer, who has been gone for a few years raising her family, and she has brought with her new energy and excitement to the office. We have an amazing year of content planned, and everyone is pumped about executing it. While running a publication

is inherently challenging, I feel so glad to know that our team is strong and dependable. We are riding the momentum of last year like a bike going downhill, picking up even more speed while enjoying relief from the climb.

And, most importantly: my family is thriving. Briley has chosen a school: the University of Central Arkansas. Though I not-so-secretly was rooting for The University of Texas, my alma mater, I am truly so pleased that we landed on UCA. It is the place for him: he can study what he loves, spend time with his best friend, come visit me occasionally, and rely on a scholarship rather than loans. As for the question of his readiness, he has proven to me that he is mature enough for this step; he got a job at McAlister’s and is working over 30 hours a week there, washing dishes, earning some fun money, and— most importantly to me—learning a work ethic and responsibility that nothing but employment can teach. He’s ready to leave the nest. And, with my sure knowledge in his readiness, I too am ready to watch him fly.

Health is a small word that encompasses so much. I’m remembering a story from our January 2018 issue, in which Linda’s husband, Dr. Jack Smith, was featured. He said that, in his personal and professional experience, interpersonal relationships—showing love and being loved right back—is the most important health factor. I feel so grateful for the people in my life who have given me their time, energy, compassion, patience, and expertise, who have kept me healthy, and have uplifted me now to a place of thriving.

Texarkana is full of talented medical professionals who keep our area healthy, and I am proud to showcase just a few of them and people who have them to thank in this issue. I hope you all are feeling good about living life to its fullest potential in 2019!

Happy New Year, and as always, thanks for reading FSLM.