• Becca Clifton

Fall is proof that change is beautiful.

As I began typing this post I couldn't believe that the year has gone by so fast that we are already in the heart of fall. It is by far my absolute favorite time of the year! I'm not sure what it is that I love so much about this season. Perhaps it's a culmination of many things.

The leaves changing colors.

The warm, rich colors.

The cool nights by a fire.

Football season. (Go Hogs!)

The gathering of family.

Or the calm before the holiday madness where we pause to show our gratitude.

If you asked my husband, he would immediately say deer season is the reason the fall season is the best season.

Whatever it is, I love it!

I recently visited one of my favorite local shops, the Freckled Hen, and the quote on their window really stuck out to me.

Photo credit: Freckled Hen Instagram

Fall is proof that change is beautiful.

Read that again.

As I was leaving the store, I really started thinking more about that quote and how applicable it could be this year in particular. This year has been nothing but one change after another.

We were transitioned to work from home.

We no longer could gather in groups and attend events.

Restaurants were closed for dining.

Salaries were reduced & jobs were cut.

People got really sick and lives were lost.

I feel like I could go on and on with a list of what has changed this year, but after I read that simple quote, I started to challenge myself to see the good in the major changes brought on by COVID-19.

While working from home is tough at times, I find it can be more efficient. In the time I would normally spend walking to my next meeting, is now when I can throw in a load of laundry to free up more time in the evening. I no longer have an hour spent every day commuting to and from work. I was paying nearly $1,000/year to park on campus for work, which now I'm able to save. Trust me, I am really looking forward to the day I can be amongst my colleagues in person, but for now I'm thankful for what working from home has provided.

The limiting of large group gatherings and the cancelling of events is the one that's impacted me the greatest, both professionally and personally. I manage an event center on a daily basis and we had to cancel all our events for a period of time. Events that we worked tirelessly to book and plan. I missed my best friend's wedding which was absolutely heart wrenching. However, while I missed it in person, I did get to watch it live online. We also got creative at work and hosted our first virtual conference which had people from coast to coast in attendance. My point is while we do miss the in person interaction and experience, the virtual environment has become so widespread and familiar that our reach is greater and you no longer have to miss out completely just because you can't be there physically.

We loved going out to eat, but when dining shut down in restaurants we ate more consistently at home. Now my favorite part of the day is when we all sit down at the table for dinner every single night.

Salaries being reduced and jobs being cut is a tough blow. Maybe you didn't experience either of those things, but knew it could happen in the future. The uncertainty alone forced many to cut out the fluff and get back to the foundation of daily life expenses and be more intentional with spending. If you're one that lost your job, I would encourage you to evaluate what you were doing and ask yourself if you really loved what you were doing. Perhaps this closed door just opened the door to a career change to something of greater passion.

People getting sick and some losing their life is absolutely devastating. While I wasn't directly impacted by the loss of a loved one, I knew multiple people who did experience it and their stories are heartbreaking. The one thing this showed me is how quickly our lives can be taken and to really cherish the time and the people we have in our life. Don't take it for granted. Make the effort. Call your mama. Mail the card. Whatever it is, show your love.

Now, listen. I would be lying if I said I was not ready for COVID-19 to be in the past and for us to get back to our regularly scheduled lives. However, if we don't take away something positive from this experience and completely go back to the way life was before then this virus was more destructive than just what it did to our health and economy.

Every year I see people participate in 30 days of thanks during the month of November. I've never publicly participated in that, but this year I am and here's why. It's been a tough year and more hate has been spewed while hiding behind a screen than I've ever seen before. The election is just a few days away which I'm sure will bring even more hateful comments.

So let's change the social newsfeeds and spew out our gratitude! I feel we all have plenty to be thankful for even in the midst of major change and uncertainty.

Change is often so incredibly tough, but let's all do our best to make it beautiful and be thankful.

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