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April Showers bring May Flowers

 

It’s officially Spring! This time of year is inspiring to me for many reasons. It inspires change, progress, renewal, and rededication. The past two years have been full of challenges; COVID-19 and all its hardships, travel restrictions, economic restrictions, and hurdles; “The Great Resignation;” civil unrest, and the most devastating to me, emotional and mental health struggles all over the world. I know I’m preaching to the choir; utilities are prepared and resilient public servants that deal with challenges every day.  If we stop and think about what that means, we should shout THANK YOU!!!

We’ve all heard the phrase “April showers bring May flowers.” Well, to many the last two years have felt like one big “April shower.” The many hardships that we’ve all had to face, whether individually or collectively, will not be for nothing. I can speak from life experience, challenge breeds opportunity, gratitude, and humility.

COVID-19 has shed light on health and safety concerns that, in most cases, should have already been in place. It has reiterated the need for personal and public hygiene and safety protocols at home, in restaurants, in malls, in the workplace, etc. Quite frankly, I know we are all sick of talking about it, but the reality is, that it is here to stay. Whether we are talking about the actual virus, or the lessons and repercussions learned from this ongoing pandemic.

One of the things I was reminded to value even more throughout this pandemic, is the importance of life and the ability to prioritize quickly. Some may say that is simply work-life balance. We strive to achieve this balance because it leads to peace and joy.  When we are feeling overwhelmed, overworked, or overreact, we need to quickly pivot. It is important to take a break, even if it is for 5 minutes to stretch or grab some coffee, step away from your screen. Make the weekend your weekend. Don’t worry about work on Saturday night, because whether we like it or not, Monday will always come. And lastly, take your time off. A little break occasionally will go a long way. I’m always telling people at every UTC event I go to, whether virtual or in-person, to stay “plugged in.” But I also want to remind you of the importance of “unplugging” and refilling your tank. Truth be told, I need to take my own advice. Finding that balance can be difficult at times, but it is going to pay off in due time, especially when it comes to mental health. It can be difficult because we are complex individuals with competing goals and demands.  Working late, hanging out with your friends, spending time with family or loved ones, volunteering and helping others, or staying in to watch a movie.  The choices are endless.

I just talked about a lot of “showers,” but the “flower” is that you have a choice.  When you can achieve that balance, you will have a new vocabulary that will describe your character.  You will be an overcomer, an achiever, and you can experience joy.

All the downpours we have gotten caught in over the last two years are watering the flowers that will bloom after this storm ends. There are many flowers to gaze upon every day. I recall when we picked our daughter, Annie up from college because the school was shut down due to covid two years ago. Now we are celebrating her achievements online and in-person and preparing for her undergraduate graduation in 2023.  I recall when my dad and my other mother, who live in New York, caught covid early when New York became a pandemic hot spot and there was little hope for recovery.  Now I smell the flowers after taking my daughters to spend spring break with their grandparents in New York. I recall when UTC members could not travel due to the pandemic.  Now I am smelling the flowers, as we can be together in person with a fresh appreciation of the concept of “networking.” As we take a step back and look at what we have been through and at times, struggled through, let us remember why we did it, who we did it for and how to do it better next time. And remember, the showers will always come, but they will always bring flowers. I can’t wait to see you in Oklahoma City for our 2022 Telecom &Technology Conference and we will look at the flowers together.

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