Happy first birthday to Smart Women Smart Money! And, thank you for helping to make the past year for Smart Women Smart Money enjoyable! We have been so blown away – and humbled by all of you for the emails, notes, story ideas, and everyone that has contributed to the success of this publication. We are so blessed to work with a phenomenal team of writers, publication coordinators, photographers, editors, designers, and printers, who work hard behind the scenes to produce this publication.
While the insanity of a global pandemic brought the normalcy of our busy everyday lives to a standstill, this magazine was one of the many bright spots along the way as we all worked to adapt to our new world.
Hopefully, like us, you realized the value of human connection and meaningful relationships during the pandemic. (Something we attempt to emphasize in every issue of SWSM Magazine.) One day life was as it always had been – and the next, our world was upside down like the flip of a switch.
Suddenly, we were all learning to ‘zoom’ and stay connected in ways that we never had before. We still experienced funerals, weddings, job loss, new opportunities, childbirth, illness, birthdays, anniversaries, and retirement parties, albeit now they were all happening virtually.
For many, the part of our brains responsible for creativity and innovation ignited. Suddenly we were forced to adapt and change – and make life better for ourselves and those around us. That was our focus when we started Smart Women Smart Money Magazine—first with the print edition that began in July of 2020, and then our digital version (www.swsmmagazine.com), which launched a month later.
As publishers, we had the privilege of seeing a community of leaders, mainly women, from coast to coast, come together to help one another – share ideas, learn about financial education, and be truly empowered.
Our pastor recently led a series on the book of Ecclesiastes from the Bible. Regardless of your religious views, many argue this is one of the most depressing books of the Bible, emphasizing how brief our lives in this world are. But after studying it, we have concluded its chock-full of helpful tips on living our best lives – to the absolute fullest.
Solomon writes at the beginning of Ecclesiastes that life on this planet is “vanity,” or some versions say “meaningless.” Both words translate from the Hebrew word hebel, which means “vaporous.” He argues that we are like a puff of air or a wisp of smoke.
So, picture yourself holding on to a lit candle. You blow it out – and the brief wisp of smoke appears from the distinguished flame burning the wick. You try to grab it, hold on to it, but it is ever elusive. Solomon’s analogy of all of the work and toil we do under the sun, constantly working to improve our lives, is meaningless; it can be a depressing thought if you stop reading at that point.
But I think what Solomon is trying to drive home is to live life to the fullest! Right now! While you still can! David Gibson beautifully supports this thought in his book Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End. As professionals, many of us start planning for projects by beginning with the end in mind. Why not do the same with our lives? What do you want people to know about you when you’re gone? What kind of a legacy will you leave behind?
This is the spirit that drives all of us here at Smart Women Smart Money! We want to live life to the fullest – experience all of the adventures that life brings – even the hard ones. Because what we’ve learned over time is that we need each other. It’s not nearly as much fun to celebrate life’s victories alone – and it’s excruciating to experience fear, grief, or despair without someone to walk alongside you.
So as we are all slowly coming out of our Covid caves, our leaders are lifting capacity limitations, losing the mask mandates, vaccines have become readily available, and life is getting back to some sense of normal. Life will undoubtedly get busy again—just remember not to do it alone. Reach out and ask a friend for help. If you see someone in need, ask how you can be helpful.
No one knows the future of Smart Women Smart Money magazine, but we will work to bring you these inspiring stories of hope, financial empowerment, and life’s lessons intertwined with a lot of heart for as long as we can. Because who knows what tomorrow will bring?