It’s become a tradition to share my reflections in our last newsletter of the year, and they’re usually pretty sparkly. “If I had to summarize 2018 in one word, it would be gratitude,” I said two years ago, innocently. Last December, I admitted that “2019 was a year of accomplishments at a level that I have always wished for but never really expected.” I barely remember the person who wrote that.
It’s taken me weeks to write my post this time, because the biggest thing I think I accomplished in 2020 was survival.
Quarantining with small kids has been exhausting. I haven’t seen my family in a year. FFA lost major revenue partners, at one point getting within 3 months of insolvency. I made excruciatingly hard decisions. I failed in all kinds of ways as a CEO, as a wife, as a daughter, as a mom, as a friend, as a human. I spent all year trying so hard to “read the room” so I could be better at helping others. But the actual room where I was sitting was empty, except for the non-stop calls of my young daughters on the days, weeks and months they were out of daycare.
And yet, unlike millions of Americans and billions of people around the world, in 2020 I kept my job. My company didn’t go under. My family is still healthy. We didn’t lose our home. We didn’t run out of food. We didn’t even run out of toilet paper.
How am I supposed to write a hopeful reflection after a year when hope was tone deaf? How can I complain of my hardships when others had it so much worse?
I am overwhelmed by all the suffering this year. By the rising numbers – death tolls, jobless claims, closures, food bank lines. Overwhelmed by all the anger, divisiveness and hate. There were many moments when the overwhelm turned into paralyzing sadness. Many others when it turned into galvanizing anger.
But then, against all odds, there were also moments of joy. There was laughter. Levity. Excitement. Success. And yes, even cautious optimism.
I don’t know what 2020 was like for you, but I bet you’ve had a rough go of it too. We might all be experiencing it differently, but it is 2020 everywhere. And it’s relentless.
So I’m not going to dig into FFA’s accomplishments because, although great, they’re not what I most wish to take away from 2020. Instead, I want to remember something I often used to say, but never really understood until this year:
We get one life. Spend it wisely.
So what am I going to do with my one wild and precious life? Having survived 2020, I recommit to spending my life doing things that matter, surrounded by people who matter to me.
What about you?
With many hugs and my warmest wishes this holiday season,
Founder & CEO