December 14– Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate the most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
This one’s easy: Coffee maker. Next question.
Just kidding (sort of).
I actually was thinking about this prompt yesterday while I was at work.* I was in a meeting with most of the people in branch (one level up from my team/division) and not surprisingly, it was all women. There are approximately 65 people in our department and about 6 men. Such is the typical make up of public health.
What I noticed in this group, moreso than I had noticed in my co-workers before, was that this was a group of very smart, dedicated women. Every one of us at the table had worked hard to get where she is, has immense passion for what she does, and contributes in a meaningful way to the health of her community and the overall wellness of the people around her. We were also discussing the budget
issues crisis absolute disaster sinkhole Minnesota will be facing this session and how, right now, our departmnet budget is intact and semi-stable but how cuts in other areas (education, transportation, housing) will likely impact the work we do. I loved being a part of this roundtable of bright women who are politically active, engaged in their community and engaging in conversation, and that’s is when it hit me what I have remembered to appreciate most this year: strong women.
Given the personalities of the women in my family, I think “strong woman” was a behavior and personality type modeled before me from a very early age. But it can be easy to lose sight of that as we travel through life, particularly the young adult years, where feminine behavior seems be regarded as more important and ‘becoming’ on a lady.
Luckily, my year has been absolutely filled to the brim of strong women. There’s the other fabulous ladies in my masters program who were instrumental fibers in the safety net of support I built for myself while also busting their butts to complete their own studies. My project advisory committee included two women who I respect like mad for the things they had accomplished, the way they faced their own lives with incredible balance, and reminded me that no project and no degree is worth losing sight of who I am and not worth (too many) sleepless nights and temper tantrums. And I already gushed about my workplace, but I honestly can’t turn a corner in the office without running in to a woman I admire greatly. And of course, the women in my family continue to remind me that I am just one in a long legacy of independent, strong-willed, and frankly, brilliant, women. My mom– she’s beautifully human and not at all ashamed about it; she’s everyone’s rock.**
The best way to show gratitude for these women/role models/superheroes of my world is to continue the tradition. To show through my actions and accomplishments that their influence on me has been great and I plan to do remarkable things with what I have learned from their example. Watch out, world.
* I was multitasking, not daydreaming.
** One sentence, and then tears. See? Overly emotional. All the time.