Unexpected Gifts

Betty Lochner blog post

This week’s post was written by Patricia Roberts of Gift of College.

Patricia was a speaker at our Fall Women’s Summit and will be back in the spring. She is the author of the newly published book Route 529: A Parents Guide to Saving for College and Career Planning.

With year-end holidays in sight, the creation of shopping and wish lists will soon follow. Before heading into gifting mode, I’d love to pause for a moment to reflect on the unexpected gifts so many of us have already received during this trying year.

The gift of a reset. 

Life as we knew it was turned upside down. This gave us the gift of hitting the reset button. An opportunity to re-examine how things were and to re-imagine our lives as we want them to be.

The gift of time.

With the unexpected gift of time, we were given the opportunity to catch our breath. We can to think more deeply, learn new things, and re-examine dreams that we had put on a shelf and to create new ones.

The gift of focus.

We’ve had many prior distractions reduced or eliminated. That has given us time to focus, to be truly present, to be grounded in the moment, to reflect, and to be still.

The gift of a new perspective.

We’ve had unexpected changes to our routine and circumstances. This has provided a rare opportunity to view our relationships, our beliefs, our health, our homes, our passions, our priorities, our careers—and our world—with a new lens. It’s been refreshing to take a step back and to look at things a bit differently.

The gift of deeper connections. 

Additional time at home has given us the opportunity to become more deeply connected with others. Especially to those with whom we live and to our home and neighborhood. I hadn’t been with my son 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months straight since I was home on maternity leave when he was an infant 21 years ago. I will always cherish the unexpected time we spent together this year.

The gift of renewed appreciation.

In the absence of the activities once so freely enjoyed, we’ve developed a renewed appreciation for simple pleasures and for what matters most—with our health and that of our loved ones at the top of the list. We have found grown to appreciate what’s always been there but what we’ve so often overlooked. From the simplest of pleasures, to the comfort of our home, to the beauty of nature. We’ve grown our gratitude for those who diligently serve our community’s many needs on a daily basis. From grocery store clerks to healthcare workers to delivery persons and so many others, our appreciation has increased.

As for unexpected gifts for the upcoming holiday season

Let’s keep an open mind to unexpected gifts we may not have previously considered, such as an investment in a child’s future.

So, I’ll be doing just that. I’m giving my young nieces and nephew an unexpected gift toward their 529 college savings accounts this holiday season. And I’ll be giving their parents a copy of the book I recently wrote on the topic of saving for college and career training with 529 plans. The project was possible thanks to the unexpected gift of time I had on my hands this year.


Betty Lochner is a human resources consultant, business coach, and expert in workplace communications. She is the author of two books on communication, and a newly published journal, Intentional Gratitude. Click here to sign up to receive a free sample: 7 Days of Gratitude.

You can schedule a free consultation coaching session with Betty to help you with any communication, HR, or career issues you have

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