Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve 2020 ~ In The Year of COVID


2020 has been a struggle for most of us. In a year filled with pandemic, forced isolation, political upheaval, financial hardship, the burning and looting of cities, government orders that shuttered businesses and kept people from gathering, governors and mayors that exempted themselves and select groups of protestors from their own autocratic actions, and media personalities that lost any semblance of credibility to  the extent most people I know turned off the television and radio news and relied on only the printed word for information, there have been some silver linings.

Professionally, I experienced another series of frustrations and disappointments in the midst of yet another re-organization - a scenario that has been a constant since my company was acquired in July 2015. Essentially, it has been the continued marginalization of those with "institutional knowledge". Todd says rather more bluntly that I an now a "sage dinosaur". At least I'm a dinosaur with valuable skill. Despite the "career" changes that have in turn left me angry, unmotivated, unfocused, depressed, anxious and demoralized,  I've been blessed to work with a wonderful team, a manager who understands me, and a regional leader that is among the best managers I've experienced in my 35 years in the insurance industry.  The biggest blessing - my ability to telecommute and continue receiving a regular paycheck when so many others have lost their livelihoods during the past year. 

I'm also celebrating the rediscovery of a simpler, quieter, slower existence and a renewed focus on self-care. Cooking at home. Enjoying summer evenings on the deck - sipping wine, listening to the birds, surrounded by our outdoor refugee cats, and finding peace in the sounds and beauty of nature.

The holidays of 2020 have been strangely quiet. The last real family celebration - my dad's 88th birthday in March. My brother and I sang "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine" as we stocked up on foods at D & R for the party we hosted in my childhood home in Logansport, Indiana. It really was the last "normal" thing that happened in 2020 - although we did charge entrants to the festivities a cover fee of a  roll of toilet paper. The next day, the country shut down. The greatest gift of COVID - my brother was able to stay in Indiana with Dad and telecommute to his job in Texas. 

Since March my travels have been limited to shot "social distancing" trips to Michigan and Indiana to see my dad and in-laws. Those trips have been filled with joy that our loved ones are safe, healthy and happy.  While I would love to be with our loved ones this Christmas, I am content to wait until those most at risk are able to be vaccinated. Then, let the floodgates of a full life open.

Merry Christmas to all!

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