Looking back at photos taken during the 2019 Holidays and 2020 New Year celebrations, it is impossible to imagine what 2020 was to bring. A new decade full of hope and excitement had arrived. Little did we know: this year was going to be unlike any that anyone alive today has ever witnessed. A global pandemic was at our doorstep and is still, at this writing, a threat to vast populations near and far.

Without getting into the data and details that we are all too familiar with, I would like to share some observations from this highly unusual and unprecedented year.

Human connection has always been and will always be at the top of our list of basic needs. We are social beings and, as such, seek out and thrive on social connections and bonds. This has never been more evident than today as we experience and are witness to the effects of social isolation.

While the tech savvy endeavor to bridge the gap between family members and friends using various technologies, this is no real substitute for being in the presence of our loved ones. Video and audio connections cannot replace the warm feeling of a loving smile, a huge hug or holding a hand. There is simply no comparison.

This year, I have assisted significantly more people moving to be closer to family and loved ones than in recent years. While relocating to live near family is not anything new, this is by far the number one reason people are on the move today. People are uprooting and traveling across the country to live as near as possible to family. I have helped clients move from other states (and time zones) to North Carolina. And I’ve helped clients pack up and leave North Carolina for the same reason – to be closer to family.

Most people do not view moving as a fun or enjoyable activity. Its hard work and can be incredibly stressful to say the least. Therefore, the reward and security of being close to family and loved ones must be powerful motivators. Or so it seems.

Wherever you find yourself this holiday season and beyond, I hope it is in the presence of the people you love and cherish dearly. Holding hands, sharing smiles and hugs, and telling stories of how we got from there to here sounds like home to me.