2016 Tumult and Blessings

December is usually a frenzied time for me. Professionally, I am wrapping up another year of projects and mapping out 2017 initiatives. There are yearend board meetings, job evaluations and conference calls before Christmas break.

Personally, I am a multi-tasking whirl of shopping, holiday baking and cocktail party banter. Can I wedge in one more thing? My mantra (or one of them) is “of course I can, I will just get up earlier and work harder.” The mantra is from growing up on a dairy farm in Coshocton County where my parents considered 9am the middle of the day.

This year is no different, despite 2015 Kimberly swearing she would slow down and enjoy things more. I will now stop referring to myself in the third person—creepy really, but I digress.

The tumult of 2016 from the long campaign season, shouty televised debates and continuous noise from 24/7 news cycles had most Americans frazzled. Ohio was among a handful of states that occupied Ground Zero for an exceptionally divisive presidential election.

The rancor and bitterness has lingered longer than I expected after the election. And it has honestly threatened my usual Christmas spirit. So to cheer myself, I decided to recap some of my professional and personal blessings. In no particular order, here are ten 2016 high fives:

  1. 18 facility tours with legislators, showcasing what our members do, how they do it and why we love providing nearly 10,000 jobs statewide
  2. Teary goodbyes to dedicated legislators like Reps. Jim Buchy, Barbara Sears, Denise Driehaus (and so many more) delivered eloquently by both sides of the political aisle
  3. Collaborating with the most incredible talent in our industry on both my Ohio Soft Drink Association board of directors and with colleagues at American Beverage Association
  4. Wishing Godspeed and good luck to a stellar, retiring OSDA board president Mike Collins, of Pepsi Toledo and welcoming a new bottler Coca-Cola Consolidated to Ohio
  5. Presenting Toledo with a NEOS 360 outdoor play system and promising to come back in the spring and actually play on it (so fun, trust me)
  6. Giving time, talent and treasure to Keep Ohio Beautiful—collectively working on litter prevention, beautification, community greening, waste reduction and recycling
  7. Working with an amazing group of professionals on the Ohio Society of Association Executives board and welcoming our new executive director Jarrod Clabaugh
  8. Finding kindred spirits on a coalition of Ohio agriculture interests from farm to fork and pushing hard against ignorance, hype and DC inertia to enact GMO labeling uniformity
  9. Trusting myself to buy a cute “fixer upper”, find a contractor and lay waste to this home right before Christmas (ok, the blessing will take a while to manifest but I know it will)
  10. Guiding my son Curran through college visits, applications and his senior year with a mixture of worry and wonder at how it will all turn out—but knowing that it will because he is an incredible person already and the world is a better place with him in it

So as you finish your 2016, please consider taking a true break from the yearend tumult and make a list of blessings. You will be amazed and humbled by the exercise. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season.

p.s. Photo of Crawford siblings–author is bottom left with long curls that she hated with a fiery passion.

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