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  • Ann Louden

JUST WHEN I GOT IN CONTROL!

You already knew I was never in control, didn’t you? If there is one thing life has taught me, it is not to get too comfortable with my version of what’s next. And for me that’s a particularly hard lesson, wedded as I am to my “to do” lists, the need to manage my day, and the comfort that having a plan brings me.

So here we are at the start of December, thinking the holidays would bring a respite from Covid, only to be introduced to Omicron on Thanksgiving day. Until then, signs were pointing to New York City’s recovery. Tourists are returning, Broadway is back, commerce is picking up, and the beauty of Manhattan at this glorious time of year had shifted the mood from frustration to optimism.





That Damn Omicron!


Then came the news about the latest, greatest variant. So now what, we ask?

We don’t know much, but we know enough to imagine that at minimum, our resilience will be tested once more. For you and for me, we will examine the latest pandemic news through the lens of our own experiences, and then keep moving forward. From our work, to our health, to our neighborhoods, to family gatherings, we have to be prepared for what might be altered.

In my life, what’s next on the horizon is the wedding of my daughter Carey on New Year’s Eve in Colorado Springs. She’s been waiting fourteen months, experiencing hiccups in planning and learning to pivot. But her dress arrived in spite of supply chain issues! And I made it back to Texas for her fittings, where I was thrilled to find crimson velvet in the heat of the summer to wear on her big day. My fingers are crossed there is no hitch to her getting hitched!





What's Kept Me Hopeful


Even as I realize there will be future disruptions to my life and yours in the days ahead, I find encouragement and security in one constant – the continued ability I have to connect. We ALL have it.

Being a connector takes just three things, each available to all of us:

- An attitude of curiosity - The bandwidth to ask good questions - A willingness to be present for someone else



What Connection Looks Like


Just a few weeks ago, the New York City Marathon returned to the Big Apple and runners from around the world were in Manhattan to compete. I stood transfixed in the crowd watching the competitors go by, inspired to know each had a reason for being there. Thousands of people were connected by their common desire to accomplish a superhuman feat for a purpose that mattered to them.



One of the most touching stories of runners was that of an unlikely pair -- a member of the South Florida condo collapse search team who traveled from Israel to help. At the search site, he met a young woman from Boston, distraught over losing her brother who was visiting friends in the building when it crumbled. In their chance connection last summer, the rescuer and the sister of the victim became friends. And this year they reunited from opposite ends of the globe to run in the marathon together to honor their new friendship.

In our own lives, our connections may not be as dramatic, but they can be every bit as meaningful.

There are endless examples:

- Seeking out friends (I have a high school class reunion coming up next year!). - Getting to know colleagues we work with on a personal level. - Making time in our lives to check on those we have lost touch with.



"I've Been Meaning To..."


How many times have we said it? "I have been meaning to …" (fill in the blank for yourself).

Let this be the season you take that step. Whoever you have wanted to find, follow up with, fete, or friend, do it! Now, more than ever, amidst our longing for connection, your action will have even greater significance.


Wishing you and yours a very special holiday this year!

Stay resilient. Stay optimistic. Stay connected.

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