As I write this, I am, like you, still under a self-imposed state of quarantine. One of the byproducts of this experience is an excessive amount of time to contemplate and meditate. 


All of this quiet time has had an impact on me. I would even go so far as to say it has changed me in some ways. If you will indulge me for a moment, I’d like to share the two areas of thought that have changed the most for me. (I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and what mind-shifts you have experienced in this unprecedented time. Use the hashtag: #NugentReaderThoughts.)


The first “change” for me revolves around the concept of “Influencers.” Who they are, what makes them one, how to spot one. All of it. It’s all changed for me. Like most, when someone says the term “influencer” to me, I immediately think of someone with a high profile, probably a public figure with a large social following, always posting some sort of content, lots of selfies ... you know what I’m talking about. 


I’ll never hear that word the same way again. These past weeks have revealed to me the invisible influencers that are all around us. From the healthcare worker who chooses to go to work every day, despite the life-and-death risks, to the seven-year-old girl who stands on the sidewalk applauding that same healthcare worker as she arrives back home at the end of another 14-hour day. Both are influencers now, to me. They have used their life in a way that has had a profound impact on the life of another.


Every small business owner who has kept their doors closed, despite the extraordinary losses they are suffering, is absolutely an influencer in this new world of ours.


Perhaps even heroes. By the time this issue of the magazine reaches you, I am guessing many businesses will be opening back up and trying to rebuild. It is my intent to thank as many of them as possible by doing business with them and speaking highly of them to friends and family. That’s my way of being an “influencer.” 


Another thought that has, well, not changed, but blossomed over these days of isolation and observation is just how proud I am to be an American. Watching all of us pull together and blindly walk through the storm together, as messy as it has been, has really strengthened my love of this great country and the people who make it what it is. From school teachers who reinvented their entire approach to teaching, to families who found new ways to love their elderly while protecting them from harm. I am so damn proud of everybody in this great country of ours! 


While I would not have chosen this pandemic and hope it never happens again, I am profoundly grateful for the experience and the impact it has had on me and my family. We are forever changed, in good and important ways. As you look around this world we occupy, I hope your view has also changed slightly as a result of the experience we have collectively walked through.


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