The Year of All Years

Time is an interesting concept. Sometimes, we feel like time moves too fast. Other times, we feel like time moves slower than a snail. Either way, March 2020 to March 2021, was a year like no other that many of us have ever encountered. Some days felt like it went on forever, while others flew by. It’s been a year of all years!

Time is simply that – time. It’s how you utilize your time that makes an impact on your life. Returning from Spring Break last year, my family & I didn’t realize that the week we spent together because we needed some time together would be the beginning of months together. My family is blessed. I’m not going to lie. Moving to virtual school in the spring was tough, but it happened, and we did it. Our jobs kept going – we just worked from home instead of in the office. We had food on the table, money in the bank, and a roof over our heads.

Not everyone was as blessed as my family during this past year. Not every company was as lucky as the ones we work for to continue to keep everyone employed.

Food Bank needs were at an all time high as families struggled to keep food on the table. Organizations, many who support those in need, suffered from special event cancellations, summer activity cancellations, and loss of donors, as the uncertainty of the pandemic set in. Organizations shifted their workforces to virtual, when possible, or limited the people who could come to the office. Fear filled the air, as no one had an answer to what would happen next. It’s in our human nature to want to know what’s next. This year taught us, change is inevitable.

The beauty of the past year is simple: We are resilient. While everyone had a different experience, we all continued moving forward. Organizations pivoted. Who knew the image of Ross yelling “Pivot!” while carrying a couch up the stairs would be a symbol of 2020 for many of us. I watched as organizations moved events to non-events, and raised more money than originally anticipated. Some events were moved to the drive-in, so people could be socially distance while still celebrating together. Most of us who work in some sort of capacity for non-profits probably knows more about CDC guidelines than has ever been necessary before in our positions.

As a communicator for nonprofit organizations, it’s not easy to not know what to say to clients as to what is next. It’s not easy to admit that you have no clue. But that is exactly what many of us did, and still do, as we navigate through these times. I learned that it’s okay to say “Here’s what we are going to do…and understand this could change tomorrow as we learn more.”

This past year was a year of learning. Learning what is most important: family, community, mental health. All of these aspects, and more, of our lives were impacted by the shut-down of life as we knew it.

The past year was a year of growth. I watched organizations grow in their technology understanding and needs. I watched as organizations grew in their missions. I watched communities grow together as they rallied around those in need to make sure local businesses could stay open.

The last year was about slowing down. Our busy day to day lives came to a screeching halt in March 2020. During those first few months, I watched families spend more time together – eating meals around the table again instead of in the car from one activity to another. I watched as my neighborhood was filled with people walking and playing outside. I listened as friends and I shared with each other the struggles that our children were having or how we could help those in need. I remembered to enjoy the little moments because those moments make up the big moment that was 2020.

Plans change. Lives change. Mandates of what we can and can’t do change. Even the organizations we support and/or work for change. Time, on the other hand, keeps on ticking forward. So, as we move into March 2021 and Spring Break (that we can only pray will be one week this year), I challenge you to look at the positives from this past year in your life and your organization. What stands out to you?

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