Don’t forget what we’ve all been through together

The Christmas Tree at Philadelphia City Hall

Holiday columns are always difficult. The easy way is to say “Happy holidays no matter which holiday you celebrate.” The holidays are, inevitably, a time to think about were we are, what the last three years have been like, and where we go from here. But that’s a tall agenda, and when you add the personal stress in that mix, it’s overwhelming.

Now is certainly a time for reflection. I can safely say that all of us felt like we were in some sort of time warp the last three years. And on a personal level, I believe that we all have somehow changed from our mutual experience. Our lives and routines were interrupted. We were all forced to question the various new post pandemic world, from the way we work to the public and community services we count on. And during that same time period, we had to grapple with the changes that our family and friends went through too.

After the Vietnam War, I commented that we had all gone through a collective and national nervous breakdown. While not as drastic, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the unknowns of how Covid and the flu with be this winter, are also causing a collective stress on us all. There is so much uncertainty not just with our health, but with our safety as well. So what do we do this holiday season to help us unwind?

Luckily, the holiday season is a time for friendship, family, slowing down and looking ahead. While non of us can predict the future, we can have a mindset to make the most of our lives. Cherish your friends and family and set aside time for them. Time is the most valuable thing in that you have in your life. Get involved with whichever community you feel connected to.

As we relax and unwind this year, and as we plan for next year, let’s all take the time to really figure out what can improve our lives and the lives of those around us. It can be easy to just keep on doing the same things again and again, but these moments are perfect for reinvention and for recentering ourselves and how we move through the world.

Each and every one of us can make change. If we’ve learned anything from the last three years, it’s that those who were united to serve, and those who became closer to those they cherish are the ones we should admire. From the first responders to those delivering food and to those who brought more love into the world at a dangerous time, thank you!

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