2020 is behind is.  In most of our lifetimes there has never been a year end that society has celebrated with more “good riddance” sentiments.  While I think most of us are convinced that 2021 can’t be as eventful as 2020, did any of us really anticipate the struggles of 2020 as we watched the ball drop on December 31, 2019?  I know that I didn’t.  It’s our nature to be optimistic about the future.  I know that I have generally been optimistic, but I will also admit that my optimism for the future has taken on a new reality after going through 2020.  As I look back at 2020 and contemplate the past year’s events, I’m reminded just how significant 2020 really was.

2020 will always be remembered as the year of COVID-19 and everything that the pandemic brought with it, both good and bad.  We saw both health and economic impacts hit swiftly for individuals as well as entire industries. On the other hand, we saw innovation at its best as we found new ways to work, congregate, and collaborate.  We saw the miracles of science as the world’s foremost medical professionals and chemists worked around the clock to develop vaccines in a time frame never before imagined.  We saw much of society come together to do whatever was needed to help fight and contain the pandemic.

2020 also brought much division in society, but it appears to have also sprouted much healing.  We have seen both violent and peaceful protests in every major city in our country.  While we have witnessed violence in the name of addressing police violence, brutality, and racial injustice. We have also seen police and everyday citizens manifest hope as they have walked hand in hand during a protest or hugged across protest lines.

Most recently, and spilling into 2021, we have seen political divisions matched only by our country’s periods of war and revolution.  A time where civility has taken a back seat and national treasures have been looted and damaged; all in the name of government and politics.

When my oldest son was born almost 32 years ago, I recall my mother telling me something that she had been told by her own mother at the time of my birth during the turbulent 1960s.  My grandmother said, “It is frightening to me to imagine you raising your children in this world.”  My mother told me the same thing when my oldest son was born in the late 1980s—and now, I have said similar things to my own children as they have started their families.  With each generation, we see change.  Is the world worse than it was for previous generations?  I guess that depends on your individual perspective, but probably not. It’s just different and, in many ways, it’s better.  Each generation develops the abilities required to not only survive but to thrive in the world in which it lives!

Those same principles apply for real estate investments.  Was 2020 worse than 2019?  While many think it was, the human race also shined at its brightest in so many ways during 2020.  So, what will PEG do with 2021?  We’ll continue to adapt.  We don’t know how 2021 will shake out in comparison to 2020, but it will be different, and we will all adjust.  At PEG we’re adjusting our strategies and plans while sticking to the main guiding principles that have proven successful over our history.  We’re looking for the opportunities created by world and economic change.  Is 2021 going to be the year of hospitality?  Maybe not, but it will be the year to grab onto opportunities to develop and, in many cases, redevelop real estate in ways to match adapted needs; whether that is a need for workforce housing addressed by our Extended Stay Conversion Strategy, rethinking how we design multifamily housing to provide for increased remote work from home, or redeveloping retail real estate that has become obsolete because of COVID-19 and e-commerce to now match the true needs of a local market.  That’s exciting, and at PEG we’re actively pursuing strategies and projects that match the needs of the world in 2021 and beyond.  No matter what 2021 throws at us, the future holds opportunities for those willing to work for them!

I was recently reminded of a quote by Jenkin Lloyd Jones, a pioneering Unitarian minister that lived from 1843 until 1918 and was the uncle of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  While many may have heard this quote through the writings of others, Jones has widely been credited with the following:

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.”

“Life is just like an old-time rail journey…delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”  

2020 has been a tough year, but 2020 had “some beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed,” and so will 2021 – even though not all putts will fall.  Here at PEG, we look forward to experiencing those vistas and bursts of speed throughout 2021 and beyond!

Happy New Year!

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