Exploring one unanswerable question

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Column by Ben Sheroan, editor

In the solemn silence of introspective moments, there's one question we most often ask ourselves.

Who am I?

The answers are obviously quite individual.

Sometimes it's defined by a stage of life: Son, husband, father, grandpa all have applied to me. Other times, we respond by simply considering our occupation or our education as if that alone defines anyone.

In a more probing personal analysis, the answer can be complex. My 7-year-old grandson recently described himself as an inquirer and risk taker.

What applies to you? Idealist or realist, elusive or exclusive, informed or uninterested. How do you define the meager differences between being a visionary or a dreamer?

Now refocus this question or our collective community. It gets even more difficult. What's our self-image of Hardin County and Hardin Countians? Fill in the blank: We are _____.

That's the topic that this year's edition of Discover Hardin County seeks to explore.

I picked the word "explore" because we are not trying to find an answer. No single answer would be accurate. In this case, the fun is in the search.

The magazine's exploration begins on the cover where eight people are defined with a single one-word statement.

You'll meet all eight early in this magazine. You'll also likely realize that while these labels accurately apply, they are not the sum total of these individuals and their lives.

Collectively, they represent us all in some way or another. Most of us have been many of these things in life but few have been all. These eight live in different corners of the county. Some are native Hardin Countians; others are not. They are both male and female and represent different cultures, races, backgrounds and faiths.

They are us.

And they remind us that in our definition of "we," it's vital that we look beyond "me." It's impossible to fully appreciate all that Hardin County has become by examining it only from the prism of our limited personal experiences. Hardin County is who we are and it's who more than 100,000 others are, too.

To see the whole of Hardin County today, it's important to realize it's more than it was a decade ago and less than it will be a decade from now.

We are our heritage, we are our communities, we are our businesses, we are our festivals, we are our faith and we are our loves and passions.

But most of all as you read the pages of this magazine, please remember: We are potential.

Ben Sheroan, a native Hardin Countian, is editor of The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at (270) 505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.