By Sean Schrader
Strange year to endure, right? I recall during the 2019 holiday season spending time at holiday events and parties. Although we can’t celebrate the same this year, there’s a lot to be grateful for in the coming weeks. While celebrating this season as best as possible, I’ve tried to utilize the time to reflect on the events of 2020 and look forward to what’s ahead in 2021. The past several weekends involved spending time with family by decorating our home and putting up a Christmas tree. All the while, I spent part of that time thinking about the challenges we’ve faced and the challenges that lie ahead.
You may recall that 2020 was a very active hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center reported 30 active storms and 12 of them made landfall in the United States. Although tropical storm Eta brought minimal damage to Tampa Bay and the west coast of Florida, overall Florida remained largely unscathed by any major storm.
This past summer, I traveled to Marianna, Florida. It’s roughly an hour’s drive from Mexico Beach, where in 2018 Hurricane Michael made landfall and caused extreme destruction and devastation. Even though it occurred two years ago, there’s still widespread damage that will likely take many more years to fully recover from. Tampa Bay is such a beautiful area, and I’m grateful that it remained largely unharmed in the 2020 storm season.
Since March, I’ve become much more familiar with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other virtual meeting platforms. These platforms make working and meeting from home much easier. Because of these advancements, conversations, important meetings and other gatherings can take place – even holiday parties. While it’s nice to see familiar faces virtually on a computer monitor, hopefully in 2021 actual parties will return.
The pandemic presented difficult times not only from a health perspective, but also from a job perspective. As we know, it’s caused many people across the country to be unemployed. I’m grateful for organizations like the Salvation Army and Feeding Tampa Bay as well as food drives across our community to feed those in need.
While 2020 didn’t go as expected, I realize it’s a year in which nothing should be taken for granted. I’m grateful for having good health, a home and food, and won’t take those things for granted in the future. I hope you feel the same this holiday season.
Feature photo by Photo by DAVIDSONLUNA on UnSplash.