Last year, around this time, I complained to Zach, carelessly, that we were in for another batch of J.'s terrible dressing. "She uses white bread," I explained. There are always too many people there, and kids keep appearing, even when you think you've counted them all. There was one child who sat on the couch, very still; so still, in fact, that I started to wonder if I was the only one who could see him. I never learned who he belonged to.
J. and her husband are family friends of my husband and his parents. We go to their house every year because, as Zach explained to me, I "overspend" on Thanksgiving, he doesn't eat meat, there are too many leftovers for two people, and, allegedly, I'm unpleasant in the kitchen when people (like, say, Zach) don't peel potatoes correctly.
I think of last year, and my casual cruelty about food made with love (but white bread? for dressing?). I think of J., whose only wish in life is to host a Thanksgiving where she only recognizes a third of the people there. And then I think of all of us, in 2020, and how radically different Thanksgiving this year is going to be.
I'm not going to turn this into an exercise about gratitude. But I do feel that this is a good time to remind myself how thankful I am, and how blessed I am -- however you experience blessings in this life -- for the following:
- Everyone who reads our newsletter. Everyone who takes time to trust us, and our insights and opinions. Even you. Even the person who once wrote to me to tell me I had half a brain. I'm a brain half-full kinda guy anyway.
- Everyone who comes to our webinars and conferences. I actually don't know if I can properly convey to you how important this is. Without an audience, it's just a ragtag group of ne'er-do-wells putting on a show only for ourselves. But with you, along for the ride with us, you give our content shape and meaning.
- Everyone who belongs to one of our membership platforms -- The Consumer Relations Consortium, the Innovation Council, Research Assistant, Case Law Tracker. We've accomplished major things this year alone, and your participation made it all possible. Again, this goes back to trust, and how thankful all of us here at insideARM are, to you, for trusting us. For valuing us. And for being part of what makes our company amazing.
- Stephanie Eidelman, for giving me a job. She didn't have to. And there has been a time or two where she maybe wished, quietly, under hear breath, that she didn't. (Ask her about the Case of the Missing Drinking Glasses: email@example.com). Stephanie has provided me with one of the best professional experiences of my life, but also her friendship, her humor, and her vision. We're a small company; this pandemic has had a huge impact on all of us; she made sure we all remained employed.
- Anyone who has ever taken time to write to me to tell me that something I wrote helped them. You may think, "Eh, how much good can a 'nice job!' email do?" A lot. An email like that, to any of us here at insideARM, means a lot.
- Jeffrey Hearn, Kerry Murphy, Katie Neill, Amy Perkins, Debra Panitch, Shelly Sheppick, and Aaron Steinberg. They are my coworkers, my colleagues, my dearest loves, and they put up with so much from me. So much. If you have a spare slot in your Thanksgiving Prayer this year, add them to it because they need it, and have earned it, and I can't imagine my life without them in it.
- My neighbor, Betty, who drinks wine from a sports bottle and pushes an empty stroller up and down our street. She once asked me if I had seen a squirrel wearing a sweater. When I asked her why, she said, "No reason."
- All of you who have collaborated with me on a webinar, or an article, or a project. I have learned so much about the industry, and the people in it, and letting people know you is one of the best gifts you can ever give.
- Everyone who has ever watched my cat give himself a thorough bath behind me on a Zoom call. Little Baby Fosco is the best of all of us.
We will be off tomorrow and Friday for the Thanksgiving Holiday. We'll be back with more news (and less of this) next week. We at insideARM hope all of you find a moment of peace, even if you're not in an entirely peaceful place. And if you need to hear a voice on Thanksgiving, because you're spending it alone, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I am a very good listener.