Gratitude is one of the oldest concepts in society and is rooted in most traditions and religions. It is the practice of noticing and being thankful for what is valuable and meaningful in our lives. When we give thanks to everyday things and appreciate the actions of others, we make them visible again, and we are less likely to take them for granted.
With these thoughts in mind, we asked our team members what they were grateful for this year. What were their silver linings, how did they stop and smell the roses and in what ways were they enlightened? Their responses were heart-felt, evoked curiosity and were a joy to read. We want to share them with you.
Below is each team member’s story. We hope you find them inspiring and will help you tap into the positivity in your life. We want to see what you’re grateful for this year and we’ll share your story too. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, complete your testimonial in the Story Response section, upload your image and hit the Submit button.
Solutions Advisors Group
“Love cannot be canceled.”
2020 has taught me that you have to look for the good in the bad times. My sister got married; that shows me that love cannot be canceled. My fiancé is a NYC police officer; I am so grateful for his safety every day, but he taught me that even in your weakest moment you can find strength and never to give up. My grandmother is 96 and every time I talk to her she makes me laugh; she taught me that you can find joy in tough times. I am blessed with my family and friends every day. You can always find light in the darkness. There is so much to be grateful for.
“My words for the year are ‘adapt’ and ‘joy.’”
This year, although challenging, I choose to find joy in everything. When something bad happens, I remember the good times or use it as an opportunity to learn and grow, both in my personal and professional life.
Note: Shannon has experienced many ups and downs this year – losing her last grandparent, adding two grandchildren to her family with a third on the way, recovering from surgery and COVID-19 and losing a few people to the virus.
“Watch her grow and learn.”
I am grateful for all the extra time I was able to spend with my husband and daughter, Annabelle, who will be three in December. I am so thankful we were able to slow down and I was able to watch her grow, learn and just spend time together as a family making memories. I know these are memories we will never forget!
“Yell across our street.”
It is no secret that COVID-19 has turned up, down, right and left. Still, despite its heralding chaos and, at times, misery, it has literally mocked everything I once thought absolute. It has provided me with a renewed perspective that life is fleeting, community is central and family is foundational. I’ve spent the better part of the last several months not traveling more than 5 miles from my home. I have suddenly found the ‘time’ to call my extended family and friends. I have enjoyed driveway conversations where my neighbors and I yell across our narrow street – staying safe, still getting to know one another better. Through it all, I am reminded that human connections are like flowers – they need watering – both family and friends. I am most thankful for the lessons forged through this crisis.
“The team dedicated themselves.”
The Holidays are a time to celebrate family and spend time with those who are important to you. During this year, I’ve been inspired and awed by our team members who have dedicated themselves in every way to keeping residents and each other safe, while worrying about their own families. I have learned that there are more ways to spend time together than just in person. I’ve learned that sometimes love means not being with the people you care for the most.
“We are healthy.”
I am grateful for mine, my husband’s and my son’s health during this pandemic. There are so many people in the world right now who are immune compromised or sick and are unable to see their friends or family. But we are healthy and with precautions are able to have small gatherings with our close family and friends.
“New cherished tradition.”
As the holidays approach, I am grateful for the many small ways my family and I accommodate and support each other in a much smaller physical world. We reach out and touch each other now with supportive phone calls and run errands for each other. Weekly walks in the park with my niece and nephew have become a new cherished tradition, and we’re already talking about new ways to celebrate the holidays together in smaller groups, so this year I’ll get two Thanksgivings and two Christmases!
“Clinical team … available at the drop of a dime.”
I have been incredibly blessed with the supportive, patient and understanding clinical team of Lorie and Marquette who have stepped into some difficult decisions. They have also been available during the best and worst of times, always available at the drop of a dime. I can recall many weekends and late-night discussions offering guidance, assurance and, at times, just someone that will listen!
“Netflix show we all agree on.”
I am grateful for the time I got to re-connect with my family during the pandemic. With a travel schedule that causes me to ‘miss more than make’ it was nice to see my family every day, find a Netflix show that we could all agree on, and tell them I love them in person versus just a FaceTime. We can’t take for granted those we keep and hold closest.
“Thankful for online gardening groups.”
I’m grateful for technology for keeping my family connected during these challenging times. I’m also thankful for online gardening groups. I recently took up indoor plants as a hobby during the pandemic, and I’ve learned so much from them; and, as a bonus, they always seem to have a clipping to share with me!
“Dear 2020 … out of my comfort zone.”
Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone; I needed that. You have forced me to slow down and experience moments. Our usual busy routines and activities have been canceled so I have appreciated the extra time at home with the girls, playing games, eating cake and playing with the dog. I have learned a lot about myself during 2020, mainly, that I have a lot to learn and that’s okay.
“Ask the question, ‘why?’”
I’m grateful that this has forced me to slow down in many ways and to re-think what is important to me personally and in life. I’m thankful this time has allowed me to ask the question, ‘why?’ Why COVID-19, why now, why this and what is my personal lesson of growth and our global message of change that we are to take from this? I am grateful for friends and families that are staying diligent every day and who are choosing to enjoy and experience life differently during this pandemic. I’m thankful for my work family who I get to be with every day, even though virtually, who give me the gift of helping and purpose, which for me, personally, defines success.
“Worked tirelessly & made sacrifices.”
I am thankful for our community teams and their resilience, focus and dedication they have shown to our residents during 2020. The challenges of this pandemic are among those that most of us have never experienced in our lifetime. Our community teams have been on the front line, not only caring for residents but, also, dealing with their own families and dynamics of children needing to be at home during the height of COVID-19 and still having to balance being at work with all of their other commitments. Our front-line team members were heralded earlier on as being HEROES and I am thankful for all our heroes who have worked tirelessly and made sacrifices to be at the communities for the residents.
“Embrace our differences.”
2020 has been a year to remind all of us to stop, reflect and be grateful. This year has reinforced within me the need to be kind to one another and embrace our differences. I am grateful for the connections I have the opportunity to make every day. The ‘new normal’ of doing video calls – now if I can’t see you when I’m talking to you, it feels weird! I am grateful for my socially-distanced in-person encounters – for work and play. I am grateful for my parents who have not been able to hug their grandchildren in months. And I am grateful for being a part of this industry and watching the amazing older adults and team members that we work with every day persevere through this terrible pandemic. By now, we have each undoubtedly been touched personally by COVID-19 in some way, some of us more than others. As I look ahead, I look to be inspired by the kindness, respect and consideration we will hopefully continue to bestow on one another.
“Humility is our best takeaway.”
During a scary and uncertain year, it’s difficult to find many silver linings. Any personal blessings seem meaningless against the unimaginable scale of suffering, particularly when many of the hardest hit include the very residents we serve. The entire experience has been … humbling.
Yet, perhaps humility is our best takeaway from 2020. I’ve always thought humility gets a bad rap in our culture. Too many perceive it as weakness. I would argue the exact opposite is true. There is strength and wisdom in understanding our place in the grand scheme of things, and, wow, did 2020 ever put us all in our place. It seems like never before have our frailties and shortcomings – as individuals, as an organization, as a nation and as a species – been more apparent. Every single one of our team members, from home office to community teams, have sacrificed and worked tirelessly to keep the company afloat and all residents safe and engaged – they have all made me appreciate the need for humility even more. I am humbled and grateful to work with such amazing people every day.
We hope you were inspired by our stories and now we want to see your story and what you’re grateful for. Complete the fields below, add your story, upload an image with you in it and hit the Submit button. That’s it.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
It truly has been a year of the best and worst of times. I am so thankful that I have been able to spend a lot of time with my family and pets, sometimes more than I ever expected, but it truly has been a fun and new experience. I have very much enjoyed my fiance being able to work from home with me and am thankful that her job allowed her to do so. I am thankful that everyone we know, including my Mother and Stepfather in Florida, are healthy and have avoided COVID.
I have been unable to see extended family as many have been on lockdown and traveling just was not safe. I have only seen my kids twice since the epidemic, and I can’t blame their mother for wanting to be safe. I miss them so much it is hard to explain. I miss very much seeing friends and family to the same extent we did previously. Many people have lost loved ones, and I am very sad that so many have not had the same fortunes I have had. Many are out of work and struggling just to get by. Many have lost their homes or might and I wish I could do something to help more.
“There are many things to be grateful for.”
Despite all the hardship, when I think about this year, there are many things to be grateful for. I moved back home to be with my family at the end of 2019 after being gone for almost 20 years. Even during the pandemic and social distancing, I’m spending more time with my mother and siblings then I ever did. I’m thankful I can experience the beauty of my home state of New Mexico all over again. I get to hug my cat, Cricket and my dog Lola more often. And, finally, I’m working for a wonderful company from my home. What’s not to like!
“Every day should be celebrated and cherished with family and friends as we don’t know what tomorrow will bring!”
I am grateful for the extra time to take a step back and fully take-in and celebrate the special times with family (such as the family Annual Easter Egg Hunt, which was moved to August this year).
2020 also made me think about how, in years past, walking out your front door would mean you would smile and wave to your neighbors… however in 2020, walking out your front door means you need to safely check in on your neighbors to ensure they are “OK” – and find special ways to let them know you care.
In 2020 the meaning of family and friend “get-togethers” took on a whole new meaning – we became teachers of technology to our family members and friends. To my surprise – my parents ROCKED technology so much that they were teaching their friends how to FaceTime and use ZOOM.
I would say 2020 showed me the core strength within myself and others and that adapting to change is something to be embraced and celebrated frequently!
“Caring is everywhere.”
Great stories! Quite inspiring. I share Mike’s sentiment. As a long time traveler, being forced home has been a blessing in the previously unmatched family time. Rebecca’s story backs up my appreciation for the industry we work in, where caring is everywhere. Even in ERDMAN’s slice of the industry, “care” is in every conversation. “There is strength and wisdom in understanding our place in the grand scheme of things, and, wow, did 2020 ever put us all in our place.” Couldn’t have said it better, Kristin. Humility keeps the world from spinning off it’s axis and 2020 has been a constant reminder. Delighted that I received this email today! All the best to my friends at Solvere!