What we’ve learned

We all know that 2020 was a difficult, exhausting year.  I know I expected 2021 to be a bit easier, with us well on our way to recovery.  As I wrote in last week’s blog, I was wrong!

The past 12 months have taught or reinforced important lessons – about ourselves, our community and our world.

2021 taught us the importance and power of connection.  We went months without seeing people we love, without a hug or handshake, and without meaningful human interactions. That loss is not quickly filled but it has been wonderful to safely gather, again.  Two weeks ago, our church held the Christmas Concert – with both the children and adult choirs.  Even with everyone masked, it was reinvigorating to see people I hadn’t seen in person since early 2020.  Frustratingly, our 2021 Grinch, the Omicron variant, means we need to remain vigilant in protecting ourselves and those around us.

One thing that carried over from 2020 to 2021 was conversations with friends and colleagues, which have taken on a different character.  Even simple chats have more depth and meaning.  In pre-COVID days you might toss out, “How are you?” with a casual tone. You might wait to hear a simple “fine” and move on. But now, when someone asks you that same question, you likely offer a more thoughtful response – knowing they are checking in to make sure you are okay. Just this morning a casual greeting in passing in the stairwell, turned into a few minute conversation and connection around a common experience.

We’ve learned that self-care and knowing your limits are smart and healthy. The stresses of the pandemic brought out an important willingness to honesty admit you’re not okay.   We all need to be open to seeking care for our mental and physical health, without fear of misunderstanding or judgment. That’s one bright spot that I hope won’t change.

There’s no question this year has been tough, with many losses – I lost an aunt and an uncle. But we’ve proven we are resilient, adaptable and strong. I’m proud of your tenacity and persistence. Our residents continue to be well served by you!  Thank you for that.

I don’t know everything that 2022 holds for us but I do know that we can manage through whatever it brings.  In the meantime, please take care of yourselves and those you love.  Get vaccinated, boosted (I have the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna booster!) and please be safe this holiday season.

See you in the new year,

Bruce Dammeier Signature