Alone In A Room With A Sandwich

Posted in Blog on November 13, 2020

Alone in a room with a sandwich.

Blog from Kelsey Sivertson, Events Manager. 

Remember family dinners at a restaurant? The waiter would give each kid one of those paper menus and a plastic wrapped set of 2-3 crayons. As a kid, one of my favorite games was, Can you spot the difference?

In my role as events manager, I’ve pivoted over the last 8 months to managing all the logistics of large in-person events to understanding the optimal platforms to deliver intricate webinars with presentations, multiple presenters and break out rooms to engage all those attending. Below are two pictures of events where I’ve served as an event and logistics lead. These events happened less than three months apart. 

Can you spot the difference?
It’s a little obvious, isn’t it? The picture to the left was at the Lakeshore Advantage annual Fellows event where we gather to strategically discuss community potential to enrich the lives of members of Ottawa and Allegan Counties. It took nearly our whole team, countless hours of strategizing on how to execute the event safely, and the whole thing came together on a cool September afternoon replete with individually boxed food, bustling outdoor ambiance, masks and (distanced) networking and that feeling of professional connection and purposefulness that as an events manager, makes me beam with satisfaction.
The picture on the right is from an event I assisted behind the scenes with, The Ability Awards, hosted by Disability Network Lakeshore. This event highlights those in our community who advocate for people with disabilities, including those with mental illness, often known as a hidden disability. This event is an annual gala, but this year they had to pivot to virtual, and I had the honor of assisting them with the technological aspect. Right before the event began, I surveyed my surroundings. I was alone, in a room, with my half and hastily eaten dinner before me and a laptop and earphones as my event execution supplies. I sat in that room alone for the next hour while the fluorescent lights hummed above me. After the event was over, I left the room and said a quick goodbye as they closed the building. No pomp. No circumstance. 
Yet on the drive home, I found myself tearing up thinking back to the awardee’s acceptance speeches. I found my heart full of gratefulness for the people I had the pleasure of meeting and for first-hand knowledge of another local non-profit in our community with a great mission.  As I pulled into my driveway, I was exceedingly thankful for that night, alone in that room, with my half-eaten sandwich.
So what if most of the good in life isn’t lived in the glamorous moments, but rather in the seemingly mundane? It is in these moments that I tend to experience profound growth, gratitude, and revelation.
COVID has certainly given all of us more mundane and hard moments than we expected. Sometimes the lack of glamour that comes with days like the second image represents can diffuse that spark within us. We look at the mountain of work ahead and observe our surroundings and think with a grimace, really? Is this what I worked for years to get to?
I challenge you to take a look back at these last eight months, particularly in this month marked with a celebration of thankfulness. While at face value, these moments may look deflated, can you look again and see the proverbial gold you harvested in experience, in resiliency, and in life as a whole? 
The call has always been this; to engage, to inform, to advocate, and to listen. When we hold to that, we receive endless possibility of continued development so that we can tackle the bigger, the better, and dare I say, the brilliantly mundane. I bet that if we looked at who we were eight months ago and who we are now, the game would be just as easy as the game above. Spot the difference. Take a moment and be grateful for who you are now. I bet it’s good.
Onward we go.