Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Celebration = Social Investment

It pays to take a breath and notice the resources we have in one another

I recently wrote a celebration of shallow ties that unite the community and enrich us all but we can’t overlook the deeper ones either. From a social perspective, the holidays are about recognizing and reinforcing our connections on all levels.

From a nod on the street, to an office party, gift baskets for customers, Christmas cards for old neighbors we no longer see, brunches with friends and visits (even under duress) to or from families out-of-state, the season is a gauntlet of social obligations.

The other day, my wife and I shared our annual holiday freakout from being overwhelmed by it all. I asked her to take a deep breath and I needed one myself. So I walked to the studio through the neighborhood.

As I passed through that familiar space I was reminded that social connections are a tremendous source of wealth that needs to be cultivated, like any asset. All of this stuff is structure within which we manage our social investments, not only as some altruistic gift (which it also is) but because WE benefit from them. These forms evolved over time, and while they should continue to do so, they have an important purpose that transcends convention.

It’s easier to be happy in the moment if we relax, but also to enjoy life satisfaction when we recognize and cherish the precious resources we represent in one another.

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