December 6-8, 2021
Austin Convention Center | Austin, TX

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The Leaflet Article


Keeping the Slower Pace

Jenabeth Ferguson

I looked back at my column from last April and the early days of the shelter in place orders.  Talk of cooking a lot, puzzles, firepits and walks.  I remember talking at that time to my eldest niece, who had come home from college and was quarantining with my mother and me and planning mentally to be in the house for the rest of April and certainly all of May.  Wondering if maybe July 4th would be the time, we would get the family together like normal.  Turns out July 4th was right, but we certainly did not expect it would be July 4th, 2021.

There have been times over the past thirteen months when my anxiety, fear and worry has taken over and I have had to stop, process my feelings, and acknowledge them and do something to be sure they did not take over my being.  I have grieved the lives lost and done what I could to support the local businesses in my community being impacted and supported front line workers when possible.  And most of all I have missed seeing my family and friends in person, gathering over a meal and just being together which, it was so hard to fathom that was not the safe thing to do.  Yes, I have also missed small things like a pedicure, a cocktail at a bar and live music.  And I have missed all of you as not planning and holding the annual Symposium or any event for the first time in my nearly 25-year career has certainly been strange.

However, can I let you in on a secret?  I have really enjoyed the year of cooking a lot, puzzles, firepits and walks.  I love to cook, and this past year has afforded me the opportunity to explore so many recipes and cuisines that I have not had the time to do. I have done a lot of online ordering to get different proteins and tried my hand at things I have wanted to try for years.  I have gone for a walk almost every day and most days I go for two walks.  Not just around my neighborhood but also exploring conservation lands near my home. I have also tackled projects around the house that I used to think if I had two weeks off, I could get to these.  Turns out it took almost two months! 

This time of staying home, no travel and less of a hectic schedule changed the way I lived dramatically, and it turns out I adjusted well.  In the last month or so as I have been vaccinated as well as those in my bubble and I have started to venture out more.  I have been going slow not only out of caution but also because I am eager to retain some of the slower pace of the past year.  My “new normal” will happily include work being busy again and traveling to HFSE this December in Austin and leaving the house more to see family and friends and I will probably get that pedicure.   I will also hold onto the extended time at home exploring cooking and most definitely my new routine of walking outside more and try to find a happy medium between the hectic pace of pre-COVID and the much slower pace of the past year.

When you see me in December in Austin, you can ask me how that is going!

Be well,

Jenabeth Ferguson
Vice President, Symposium Director
Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo

P.S. Have a thought about the Symposium? Please feel free to contact me at any time at

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