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  • Writer's pictureMichael Padilla-Pagan Pay


Let's face it; this year has been a stressful one. As a leader, my team and I were put to the test of what we were capable of. Our staff has also been stretched in capacity, responsibilities, and simply managing the chaos of the year 2021. Most of our teams are closing out the year without traditional celebrations that come in the shape of holiday parties or even goal accomplishment. The reality is that 2021 hasn't been the year we planned for. But with one quarter of the year remaining, this is the perfect time to reflect on us as humans.

To date, 2021, we've all heard people saying, "I can't wait until 2021 is over," as if the changing of the calendar is going to erase everything magically. No question, 2021 has been a – your choice of a bad word goes here – of a year. Bleep that bleep.

We've seen lots of good behavior and lots of bad behavior turn on the TV or read it on your smart device. The sacrifices, tragedies, and traumas of this year have left me at a loss for comedy. My crutch of using humor as a defense mechanism is fractured. My ability to find the silver lining is still intact, but the shine of the silver has dulled. It's kind of now just a lining. Boring.

This year was one of global warning. Mother Nature reached her boiling point, and she's not having it anymore. She's furious enough to demand a global reset. Mother Nature might be the ultimate Latin mother, pulling over the car, putting a stop to everything, making us sit in our room writing a thousand times on a piece of paper, that I will not act like that in the car again so as we might think about what we've done. (a teeny bit funny.)

So many things we looked to for normalcy or took for granted have morphed into weirder and weirder occurrences, like an epic science fiction tale. We've lost a lot and gained a lot. We've lost loved ones, normalcy, time together in person. We've gained pounds, slower routines, and a new appreciation for the people in our lives we don't get to see. Or hug.

Is it possible 2021 was one of the best years of our lives? Hard as that pill might be to swallow, there are ways to look at the positives we've found buried deep below the negatives.

I turned 60. Thank God, not with a party but with a great bottle of whiskey and Cigar and family. This year has been filled with a multitude of challenges and victories. Every year is different, but this one has been filled with more change than normal.

We all faced adversity, and often in ways we might never have imagined. Yet here we are, surviving those things we thought we never could. I'll repeat it: Whatever you thought you couldn't survive, you did.

That doesn't mean it's been rainbows and sunshine. Plenty of it is still tragic and traumatic. And you survived. You're not a victim. You're a survivor. We can measure 2021 in who we were and who we are now in response to all that has changed. Moving forward, we think about who we will become as life continues to change.

As we bid 2021 farewell and good riddance, maybe we should be thankful for a year that helped bring us all back to basics, revealing who we were all along.

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