December 15, 2020 Whitecap

Gratitude – A Personal Reflection and Perspective on 2020

I recently saw this great T-shirt which read “Wine … the only thing getting me through this 2020 shit show”. Made me laugh out loud! There is no doubt that since March 2020, there were many nights when I snuggled up with a good bottle of wine.  

In addition to figuring out how to keep my family safe from the highly contagious COVID-19 virus, I also had to anticipate how the “first wave” shutdown might impact Whitecap, the company my colleagues and I spent 23 years building into a very successful and highly respected software development company. Of course, there was no manual you could turn to for help as everything was new and evolving each day as we learned about this virus.

Each night during the lockdown I flipped on the TV for the latest news, which was of course equally dominated by the virus and that morally and ethically corrupt moron running the country to the south of us! I am astounded and dumbfounded as to how such a narcissistic, vindictive, and absolute pathological liar could be elected to what is arguably the “highest office” in the world. When it became apparent that Trump had lost the election, I again laughed out loud at another T-shirt, “Live your life so that the whole world DOESN’T dance in the streets when you lose your job!”

As we bid goodbye and good riddance to 2020, there is much cause for hope and optimism. There are also many things I took for granted in the past that I was so grateful for in 2020. Of course, it goes without saying that health, family, friends and all the front line workers top my list of things to be grateful for. But there are also a whole lot of other things that got me through this most challenging year.

Whitecap – Whitecap gave me a purpose, challenged all of my business and people skills, and provided me with a highly meaningful way to occupy my time when the whole world it seemed had shut down at times. Boredom can be a killer! I certainly wasn’t bored in 2020, primarily because of Whitecap.

Netflix & Apple TV – What would we all have done each night if we didn’t have these mediums to entertain us and allow us to escape from Coronavirus and Trumpism!

Wine – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz & Chardonnay are a few of the delicious wines that made this horrible year more bearable!

SKIP the Dishes – SKIP became my family’s way of going out to dinner in 2020. It was a treat we looked forward to every Friday night. Kudo’s to all those men and women who stepped up to deliver dinners to so many of us, especially in the early days when it seemed very risky to be doing so. Most importantly these delivery services enabled some of our local businesses to reinvent themselves in an attempt to somehow hang on and survive. THANK YOU to all our local businesses, we are so grateful for your service!

My office – Other than a few weeks at the beginning of the pandemic, our office building remained open. Our landlord did a great job putting safeguards in place. Having a different space to go to each day when I was in the city made life seem a little more normal. I was able to meet up with a few of my staff when they too needed a break from working at home and that was really special to me. My office provided me with a way to separate work from home, which I very much appreciated.

“Willow”, my Dog – Hundreds of kilometers walked, which would never have happened were it not for Willow. She helped to keep me healthy mentally and physically in 2020. Thank you Willow!

Cottage – The weather this past summer was spectacular! During the shutdown and for most of the summer, I was extremely thankful to be able to work from the cottage. My wife Deb and I spent more time there social distancing on our dock with friends and family than ever before. Simply awesome!

My Mom is NOT in a Nursing Home – My 90-year old mother is relatively healthy and still lives independently in her own condo.  She refuses to follow stringent lockdown guidelines though (didn’t get the memo!).  Recently she drove to each of her 5 sons’ homes, phoned us from her car so we would know she was in our driveway and we could meet her there for a social distant visit.  She said she just needed to see our faces and know we were doing well.  A special touching moment for all of us!

Golf – I am a golf fanatic! Love to both play and watch golf wherever and whenever I can. Although it was touch and go there for a time in the early days of the pandemic, things loosened up and golf became my past time, as well as millions of others, when I wasn’t working. Life on the golf course seemed almost pre-pandemic normal. Right now, golf is the only sport you can watch on TV. Thank you golf!

Porsche – Back in 2016 I treated myself to a mid-life crisis present, a reward for all those early years of toil, tribulation and sleepless nights building a business. My Porsche Cayman with a wonderfully noisy, very fast flat six engine, provided an outlet when I needed to feel that freedom of the road in a sports car. There was nowhere to go mind you, but what a great de-stressor it was for me cruising the 407 from time to time. Thank you for building such a precise wonder of engineering Mr. Porsche!

Backyard – How grateful I am to have a house with a backyard garden to “putz” around in. Who knew! Weeding really can be therapeutic. And we finally replaced our dilapidated 30-year old shed. We are so fortunate to have the convenience of our own outdoor space during lockdown.

Cooking – Took up cooking more seriously in 2020 and had some fun with this! I am so grateful for the food on our table each night. I am also proud and grateful that Whitecap was able to make a significant contribution to both The Daily Bread Food Bank, as well as The Scott Mission in 2020. Thank you to those two charities for doing such an outstanding job to feed and shelter our city’s less fortunate. We are so grateful for your service to our community!

My daughter has her full-time dream job – My daughter graduated from Dalhousie University in Halifax in December 2018. I am extremely grateful that she is living back at home with us, and not so far away at school. She is working in her dream job at a Vet Hospital, 10 minutes from our home.

Canada – Finally I am so very grateful to be born, raised and living here in Canada. After witnessing the chaos that went on south of the border last year, it helped reinforce to me just how lucky we are to be Canadian. Sure we have our problems too, but nothing compared to so many other countries around the world, including our neighbours to the south. Although Trump thankfully lost the election, and despite his blatant incessant lying, he still got 47.3% of the votes cast! Unfortunately, there is nothing “united” about the United States of America today! Canada’s moral compass, albeit not perfect by any means, is pointed much closer to True North.

As lucky and as blessed as I have been this year, I know there are many others really struggling to find comfort as 2020 winds down. My heart aches for all those small business owners who toiled and sacrificed so much for so long to build their dream, only to have them shattered in a few short weeks by the virus and the collapse of our economy. I pray with all my heart that you will rebound stronger than ever and be more wildly successful than you ever could have imagined, as we emerge from all of this in 2021. Personally, I plan to spend many an evening dining and socializing at many small restaurants, as soon as things open and become safe again. I hope others feel this way too and collectively we can all contribute to making 2021 extra special for you!

Thankfully, we can now see the light ahead and an end to this devastating pandemic. 2021 promises to bring an exciting new rebirth to our world and to our economy, hopefully with a whole new perspective on what is truly important in life – health, love, patience, understanding, faith, and hope for a better more caring and considerate world.

May these gifts be yours in 2021 my friends!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah!


Happy Holidays from Whitecap


Photo of Robb CarmichaelRobb Carmichael

President & CEO, Whitecap Canada