PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Lessons From a Year of Resilience and Perseverance
Gail Fattizzi | November 2020
If I were to go back two years, to when I accepted the position of HGAR President-Elect, and knew then what I know now about how 2020 was going to play out, maybe I wouldn’t be sitting here today as HGAR 2020 President! But in this case, 20/20 hindsight (pun intended!) doesn’t change anything and here I am, with the year coming quickly to a close. As challenging as it has been, there were many rewards, and many lessons learned, both personally and professionally, and I’m glad to be where I am.
Of course, I wasn’t the only one thrown a curve ball this year. We were all in this together and were all fumbling to figure out our options and how best to proceed. In my role as President, I was fortunate to have plenty of help along the way, from NAR down to NYSAR to the amazing staff here at HGAR, and all the members of our incredible leadership team, the Directors, and all volunteers.
I suspect that when asked about 2020, almost any person on the planet will first mention COVID-19. How could they not? It came in like a tsunami, completely altering the lives of anyone in its path, which is practically the entire world. Hospital workers and most in the medical field were put to the ultimate test of resilience and resourcefulness. Small business owners and entrepreneurs were challenged like never before and many didn’t survive; those who did are forever changed, but hopefully at least in some cases for the better. Landlords and tenants, both residential and commercial, struggled to strike a balance to help each other get through this unprecedented time. Vacations and weddings were canceled. Funeral services were severely restricted. Grocery stores and pharmacies were the only places that many of us visited for months, not even seeing our own families or friends. We scrounged for toilet paper, masks, hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes. As non-essential workers in NY, we Realtors struggled to figure out how to do business and serve our clients in a new virtual world. We are all still wondering if anything will ever go back to “normal.”
Sounds awful, doesn’t it? And for those who lost loved ones, or suffered through the illness and its after-effects, it certainly was. But for the majority of us, thankfully we survived, and we learned from it. I learned how generous and courteous people can be, even strangers. I learned that I truly love my home, that it serves all my needs, and how fortunate I am to have a safe, secure place of my own.
I learned that yes, I can spend 24/7 with the person I love for months on end without getting on each other’s nerves and both still be smiling at the end of each day. I was reminded how much my health is truly everything, and that my workouts are a necessity for both my physical and mental well-being. I learned that making calls in the car is sometimes the only way to catch up on the day. I learned that there are literally hundreds of ways to cook chicken and, in a pinch, how to make my own hoisin sauce. I realized that I’m very fortunate to be working in an industry that came roaring right back as soon as the mandated shutdown was lifted. I learned how to make self-videos using my phone, how to upload and share them, and that they didn’t have to be perfect, they just had to get the message across. I was reminded that talking to people can’t and shouldn’t always be replaced by digital communication.
Maybe most importantly, I learned that no matter how tough things may be, how unlikely success may seem, nothing is impossible and I am stronger and more resilient than I thought when I need to be. I can tough it out and make lemons into lemonade if I put my mind to it. But, I can’t do it alone. I was vividly reminded that there are always people enduring much tougher circumstances than I am. I learned that COVID-19 will someday be behind us, but the lessons will remain. I learned to be thankful for each moment of every single day, to keep creating new memories to cherish, and to always be grateful for the people, places and things that we sometimes take for granted.
I wish everyone a blessed, safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.