Friday, July 2, 2021

Reflect, Appreciate and Breathe




Over the past weeks, I have taken a few moments and thought about this past year (thinking back to March of 2020 when Covid really took hold here in the U.S.) and it’s hard to try to sum it up.  It has been challenging, heartbreaking, tiring and bewildering just to try a few adjectives; and while the challenges certainly continue and the virus is still present in our communities, we have taken a new and tentative step forward.   It is in this context that I want to suggest that it's a good time to reflect on all that we (and you) have been through, appreciate all that we’ve (you’ve) endured and accomplished, and take some time to literally take a deep breath (or maybe two or three!)


As I think back over the year, I reflect back to where were as a society last summer.  The virus was raging, the vaccines were not clearly in sight, and it wasn't at all clear how we were going to make it through what was being forecasted as a dangerous fall and winter of 2020.  In our business, while revenue was strengthening, we were pretty consumed by thinking about ways to keep our employees healthy and safe, and like many organizations had a huge spike of positive cases after the July 4th holiday last summer.  It was a time of crisis management, and high levels of anxiety and uncertainty.


Here we are today, July of 2021 and we are in a different spot.  Society is still challenged by the Covid virus, now with a new variant spreading quickly among unvaccinated individuals.  Vaccinations aren’t just available, 66% of eligible adults have had at least one shot, and while we may not make the president’s 70% goal by July 4th, we will hit that level before the end of July.  In our business, over 70% of employees have had at least one vaccination shot, the business is strong and we have started taking steps to reopen the offices.  I am so appreciative of the actions, hard work, and sacrifices of so many over the past year and am deeply appreciative for the health, stability and support of my immediate family. 


In the context of reflection and appreciation, we need to acknowledge just what an incredibly difficult time this past year has been for so many including ourselves… I don't know about you but I have NEVER been through anything like this!  We need to give ourselves the room, the time and the grace to take a few extra breaths, and realize it will take some time to recover from all of this…  and that process may take a while and that's not just ok….. its required as a process of healing!


I will close this essay with a quote from a note I recently received from my dear son Bryson as he reflected on the past year…


“I think the present question is how do we process that past period, how can we incorporate the lessons and survival instincts of such a tumultuous moment into the calm of a new normal?  Do we perpetually recall memories, emotions, lowlights from the period, bringing an infusion of gratitude to the present?  Or do we push the harshness away, enjoy the freedom of our earned safety and trust that the implicit takeaways are baked into our conscious and unconscious selves?”



I will let you ponder these poignant and very “on-point” comments, and as you do, please join me and take a few moments to reflectappreciate and breathe as we all find our way forward from this past year and chart new paths and directions for all of our futures!