Sunrises, Sailing, and the Human Spirit: There is Much to be Thankful for this Year

Wow! It’s nearly the third week in November, also known as the week of Thanksgiving. And for me, also known as the official kickoff to the holiday season. Where has this year gone?!

Aside from this being the time of year that I daydream about the pie bar that my mom and aunt meticulously plan each year, it’s the time of the year that I begin to reflect on the past year. Measuring myself against the goals I set out to accomplish, taking stock of the current state of affairs nationally and globally, and trying to make sense of the man-made and natural changes that have transpired.

For some, this year has been more difficult than anticipated, but for others the past year has been wonderfully fulfilling. I am fortunate that 2017 has been a fantastic year for me. That’s not to say there weren’t frustrating moments or struggles to overcome, but it was a year full of new adventures and experiences that have helped me grow in profound and unexpected ways both professionally and personally.

In March, I began a new adventure and challenge taking on the newly created role of Vice President of Strategy here at Merkle Response Management Group. An undertaking that I was excited about for the obvious reasons, but one that has roused a real passion in me and has proven to be more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

And then in July, I moved to Newport, Rhode Island – a move that I had always thought about, but for whatever reasons was never possible. Being back in the northeast and closer to my family has brought a new level of happiness into my life (though I do terribly miss my D.C. family!). For the past four months, I’ve been living in a beautiful seaside city watching beautiful sunrises and sailing around Narragansett Bay.

And even better, over the past seven months I’ve been creating new services and solutions to help nonprofits maximize their fundraising efforts. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a wildly supportive and inventive team to work with, creating affordable and timely strategic solutions to deliver the holy grail of fundraising … the ultimate donor experience. (Challenging, but so much fun too!)

As a collective, 2017 could have been a better year. Whether it be the man-made changes we’ve endured that have left many of us feeling anxious and angry, or the natural disasters that have ravaged our country – from the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, to wildfires setting neighborhoods and forests ablaze in California – we’ve endured a lot.

But these less than ideal circumstances have not dampened the human spirit. And that is what we need to take away from this past year. The goodness of humanity continues to endure and inspire despite the challenges faced. As a nation, we have seen community leaders emerge – protecting and advocating for those who cannot do for themselves. We have witnessed communities come together to bring about positive change.

Strangers have selflessly helped others. Folks have opened their homes and hearts, sharing resources and compassion with those who have lost so much.

As we head into the holiday season, slow down, take stock of your life and all that you have to be thankful for. Despite the challenges, man-made or otherwise, we have faced this past year, there is still so much good and compassion in this world.

No act of kindness is too small – whether it’s an hour volunteering at a soup kitchen or a half day reading to children at a hospital. Those folks whose lives you touch will be forever grateful, and hopefully when they are able, they will pay that kindness forward.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

– Amy