When we flip the final page of the 2013 calendar, this year will go down as one of the most trying for me on virtually every level: personally, professionally, and spiritually. The challenges have stemmed from events that have rattled the core of our family and my faith - namely the passing of my Dad, as well as extremely positive events that have pushed me to my limits - namely being blessed with the opportunity to lead an amazing marketing team for a company that has experienced tremendous global growth.
As I look back on the ups-and-downs of the year, the role that friends and connections I've made via social media played such a vital and meaningful role in getting through these tough times. Whether grousing with fellow marketing pros and HR technology gurus regarding the state-of-the-state in our business or commiserating with my Red Sox Nation pals about the non-NESN coverage we had to endure through the post-season, I never cease to be amazed by how much can be shared in 140-character snippets.
Above it all, however, I sincerely appreciate the prayers offered as my Dad waged - and ultimately lost - his long battle with Alzheimer's. His absence is felt most acutely during this time of year, when we're hitting all the holiday 'firsts' without him, but the sincere outpouring of support from friends and acquaintences via social media - including those of you who donated to the Alzheimer's Association in support of the walk-a-thon my son and I did in the fall - helped us through.
And as much as I slam Facebook, it has helped me to keep in touch - at least tangentially - with most of my "real world" friends. My Dad's passing, my work and travel schedule, and the day-to-day pressures of being a Dad of three VERY active kids has led me to be a bit of an absentee friend. However, the occassional Facebook post or text message has helped me somewhat keep up with the goings-on of others and kept me from getting too immersed in my own dramas. I'm typically not a big fan of New Year's resolutions, but this year I am creating a "to-do" list that doesn't involve global marketing strategies, speaking engagements, or articles... and reconnecting with old friends is at the top of that list.
So, I wish you all a very sincere Merry Christmas... or whatever holiday you and your family celebrate. And once again, "thank you" to all my friends - online and otherwise - who have supported me and my family in prayer, or simply lifted our spirits through a smarta** exchange or two, throughout the year.
Here's to an amazing 2014!