Alright, so we unpaused our caffeinated journey after years of the longest couple of weeks at home. We resumed the life we thought we would begin at the turn of the decade, but life does not actually pause, does it? It either is, or it is not, and tragically for many of our loved ones, it suddenly no longer was. But for those of us blessed with another tomorrow, life moved on — albeit down a path none of us could have foreseen.
It was in early 2022 at the end of a townhall — which are typically held in our auditorium but this year was still virtual — when our department’s leader spoke to the entire company a thought that will live with me for as long as I do: “I felt that we had missed out on so many experiences, many of which we had really looked forward to” he paused to collect his composure, “memories that we will never get to make, years of our lives that we’ll never get back,” a sentiment that resonated across every employee in attendance that day. The deafening sound of silence prevailed as we dealt with the unexpected display of vulnerability from a c-suite executive on stage. “But we didn’t” he continued with fully formed tears fighting to keep from falling. “We just had a different set of experiences” he concluded while discretely attempting to wipe away the emotions from his eyes to proceed to end the meeting on a positive note.
I could not tell you what was said next, even if my life depended on it. Whatever followed those words simply did not matter to me, I was more concerned with realizing how much I had taken for granted while longing for that which was not. I had been so focused on the flights we did not get to book, the family we did not get to visit, and the experiences we did not get to enjoy; I was so consumed by the journey we did not get to embark on that I did not take a moment to appreciate the journey we were on.
“I felt that we had missed out on so many experiences … but we didn’t, we just had a different set of experiences”-J.C.
Looking back on the pandemic years, and as we move further into the endemic ones, I cannot help but to think of the gratitude exercise where you grab a handful of uncooked beans — or in my case coffee beans — and place them in your left pocket at the beginning of the day. Every time you experience a positive moment, no matter how big or small, think for example anything from making the green light on your commute to work all the way to winning the lottery, you move a bean to the right pocket. At the end of the day you get a tangible reminder that there is plenty for which to be thankful.
The truth is that even during the darkest days, there were plenty of coffee beans in my right pocket, many if not most of which were and continue to be courtesy of my better half, my best friend, my constant throughout the relentless stream of uncertainty and change, Mrs. Ramdolfi. I am blessed beyond merit and I know it. It just sometimes takes some mindfulness, and occasionally a pocket of coffee beans, to remember it.
Tell me, are you back to where you left off pre-pandemic? What helped you get through those days? Do you practice gratitude; and if so, how?
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(Featured Image by: Toni Cuenca)