I achieved a couple of milestones this year. First, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. It was during the heart of the lockdown, so our silver anniversary was spent sitting in the driveway toasting with a couple of 12-ounce silver cans. I had planned (and longed for) a celebration in Banff, Alberta, Canada surrounded by the splendor of the Canadian Rockies. If you’ve been reading my columns over the years, you may recall that the mountains are where I’m most at peace. Instead, we were surrounded by the familiar sights of home. The 20-year-old Dodge pickup with more than 200,000 miles, the 20-year-old live oak tree we planted the first year in our rural home, the 14-year-old lab whose unconditional love has never failed us, and each other — two people who’ve shared a million laughs, some tears, a few arguments (okay, maybe more than “a few” — he married a stubborn person) and countless memories and moments in time.

It didn’t matter that we weren’t in Banff. All that mattered was that we were together and healthy, which was a major blessing in this time of COVID-19.

It reminded me of a Charles Dickens quote I have taped to the front of my filing cabinet: “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

I encourage you to remember and record your present blessings and share them with family and friends this season, whether if it’s in letter form, on a Zoom call or in person.

I celebrated another anniversary in December — 20 years of covering this wonderful industry. When I walked into the offices of Branch-Smith Publishing, I was the mother of a toddler and had most recently covered the commercial real estate business market and economic development. I was tackling a new subject and it was a bit overwhelming. But you all welcomed me at your nurseries and took the time to explain the lingo and the science.

As I’ve said a few times in this same space, I was in awe at how each of you shared business practices and lessons with your competitors. That never would have happened in the commercial real estate world. You were (and still are) champions for the entire industry. I’ve been able to see your kids grow up, watched your businesses grow, shared happy and sad times with some of you, celebrated some retirements, and said some goodbyes. And that toddler I referenced, he’s now 21 and in the Army. It’s been an absolute joy spending these past two decades with you.

Cheers to each of you and prayers for a healthy and blessed New Year!