2020’s UPSIDE(down)

November 5, 2020

As 2020 begins to wind down, my mind goes to a statement t-shirt I saw advertised on social media, the front of which was emblazoned with a 1-out-of-5 stars rating for 2020. My knee-jerk reaction was a hearty endorsement. So, I wanted to challenge our team to buoy me up with their positivity by replying to this Thanksgiving-esque question, “What are you thankful for this year, and what do you look forward to in 2021”?  

What I noticed below is that family is a common thread throughout their replies reinforcing why I love working with The Stahl Companies. I’m so impressed by the positive attitudes; I think they all crushed the challenge!  

While we don’t want to repeat this year, we are faced with the reality of living with this virus. I am thankful my direct family has not been altered by this other than “wash your hands” and “you can’t hug Granny.” We have been safe; however, we have been touched through friends losing both parents early on during this pandemic. So, the possibility of death is real, and we pray for the healing of those affected. We are fortunate we can laugh when people don’t know how to wear a mask since they might as well not wear one the way they wear it. I am thankful that through what we do at Stahl, I am ultimately helping those whose lives are troubled. I am thankful to have a place to reside with my family and have not been impacted by becoming jobless. I am thankful I can provide food for the family and other families if needed. And I am thankful just to be able to be thankful.  

I am thankful for the love and support of my family, for the good fortune of living in a great neighborhood in an awesome city, and for the challenges and rewards that our work provides – continuous opportunities to help our clients and the Stahl team be successful. For next year, I am looking forward to planning and going on an adventure somewhere in the world!   

Although we have been forced into a certain “stagnation,” this past year has prompted us to be more inventive and creative in how we go about our not-so-normal lives. We’ve been forced to give up or go without certain items and in many respects, it’s been good for us. 

It also has pushed us “out the door” for some much-needed fresh air, sunshine, and a break from sitting in front of a computer. Perhaps we’ll all adopt some healthier habits due to COVID. 

I am grateful for the regular Zoom chats I’ve had with my distant family and friends for almost 6 months. Through those discussions, we’ve learned so many things about each other that we didn’t know before – favorite books, music, childhood toys, and foods, just to name a few. 

What I am looking forward to in 2021 is more outdoor exercise and to being in the same room with my family and friends, not just looking at each other through the lens of my computer.  

I’m thankful for being completely healthy during this crazy pandemic. I had plenty of people close to me become infected and thank God they all recovered nor did any of us get sick. Looking forward to taking a nice vacation in 2021!  

I am thankful for having my immediate family close by and that we’ve all remained healthy and gainfully employed during this pandemic that we are all living through. Knowing that others were not so fortunate increased our family’s awareness and together we decided to share with those in need. Our neighborhood has a food pantry on the corner, and we made food donations that we hope fed a family who needed a meal. I’m one who loves “signs,” they are hung throughout the house…my newest favorite reads, “When you have more than you need build a longer table, not a higher fence.” In 2021 I look forward to new faces at our table.  

This year I am thankful my first grandchild was born, and she is healthy and continues to be so. Next year I am looking forward to spending more time with my newly widowed sister, who moved back ‘home’ last week. I am looking forward to growing our sisterhood stronger than it ever was, as a result of distance and age spread in our younger years. Positive thinking actually means approaching life’s challenges with a positive outlook. It does not necessarily mean avoiding or ignoring the bad things; instead, it involves making the most of the potentially bad situations, trying to see the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.” ~Kendra Cherry at Very Well Mind (2017B)  

I am thankful for the extra time I have been able to spend with my family and friends, and I hope I am able to continue furthering those relationships in the year to come.  

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Certainly, things like all that we’ve been through together this year are difficult. But the reality is that we go through difficulties all the time. This just happens to be a year of several difficulties that have aligned in a single time frame across borders of country, culture, and demographics such that we’re all experiencing them together. What this reminds me of is the need to learn and grow. If we look at the many who have come before us and even those around us today, it’s not those who were protected from difficult situations or those who complained about their plight who are strongest or are built to thrive. It’s those who have been through the fire with a resolve to keep forging ahead who will emerge as examples to and leaders for the rest. I’m thankful for 2020 and all the opportunities it has offered. Aside from a pandemic, social dissent, protests, rallies, riots, economic difficulties, stripping away of freedoms, and politics, they have challenged us to take inventory of what is important and to press on through the struggles to create new outlooks and new strategies. I can no longer be complacent in areas where I had simply found myself comfortable. I must get better and it will take effort. I’ve resolved to open every area of my life for examination; to overhaul, sharpen, or renew convictions that have me ready to enter 2021 better, stronger, and more complete. What some may say has been a wretched year has made me aware of these things and for that, I am grateful.  

I’m grateful for: my wife and son, our two incredible dogs, my family, especially our parents who have shown such great strength in dealing with the sometimes difficult process of aging, particularly amid a pandemic, The Stahl Companies whom I work for and the people I work with, the opportunity to help others, the freedom to believe and pray as I choose, the United States, the community I live in…we have such great neighbors and friends, and our first responders, quiet protectors, our doctors and nurses….too many to list!  

There is so much to be thankful for but let me speak of the professional side first. I am so grateful that to date, in what is the worst pandemic in our history, the Stahl team and families have endured the challenges faced from this virus. There has been professional pain certainly, doubts tended to creep in, but we are surviving and succeeding. On a personal note, my wife and I are blessed to have a great company making it possible for us to enter our next chapter of life, not quite retirement but on track, while healthy, happy, and forever grateful. In 2021, we look forward to the Stahl team growing more cohesive, stronger than ever, led by unity and support. The road trip that we recently took gives us hope that the company is and will always be in good hands so that anyone and everyone on the team can take personal time with family knowing the remaining team has their back. Knowing our children are thriving and have been forged and strengthened due to 2020, they will continue to grow and succeed in 2021.  

I’m thankful that my family has been healthy all year, we have a roof over our heads and well, we’ve been able to stay employed throughout the wild year of 2020.  

This year I remain thankful for health, family and the extra time spent together during quarantine. This year has been very difficult for most, but despite the trials, it has brought about many joys. As a company, we were able to band together to realign our desires for growth and development even in a time of remote work. I do not doubt that 2021 will have an array of trials and difficulties of its own, but I firmly believe we are better equipped to face this next year because of what we have already overcome! I’m also really looking forward to hopefully being able to get some travel plans rescheduled this next year!  

I am thankful for having gotten the opportunity to spend more time with my family this year and I am looking forward to continuing the new habits I’ve created with the extra time I have gained!  

I am thankful for all the little things that I often took for granted pre-COVID: going to the movies with a friend or loved one, enjoying a night out at a restaurant with family, or celebrating some milestone event such as a birthday or graduation. 2020 has been a huge reminder to be grateful for these things. For 2021, I look forward to getting back to those events and cherishing every moment we get to spend doing them with those we care about.  

This has been a year of great reflection and growth – from rethinking how we work and live specific to daily routines, finances, and finding creative ways to spend time with those we love. From a professional standpoint, I am incredibly grateful that we have stuck together as a team through the trials and tribulations of learning how to work with one another and support our projects remotely (all the while during a worldwide pandemic). Our whole environment was turned upside down and I think we did a great job of leaning into one another. I believe this helped bring us closer together, even with the physical distance between us. On a more personal note, I am thankful for my husband and family for their tireless efforts to be present for everyone around them. We all made a conscious effort to regularly reach out to each family member just to check in and make sure no one went without. We scheduled regular Zoom meetings just to play a game or enjoy a meal together remotely. This extra support made the struggles of everything else going on in the world a lot less troublesome. I am hopeful for 2021 – I hope we can regain some sense of a “new normal” that isn’t so tough on the world around us. I look forward to growing into our new home, along with finding ways to slow down and ensure we are enjoying the moments as they occur. 

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