Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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The Greatest Gift

The greatest gift is the dearest and the least expensive.

Friend, I intended to start this piece by expressing intense excitement for the giving and receiving season, but I chose not to, as the word excitement does not capture my true sentiments. Wonder why?

A season of mixed emotions

During the holiday season, like many, I experience conflicting emotions. On one hand, I love the festive aura: Visions of bright lights around every nook, sights and sounds of families and friends singing Christmas music, palpable warmth expressed by neighbors to one another, kids cheering as they unwrap their gifts, and the list of merriment goes on.
However, amidst the cheery Christmas tunes, the season also bemoans a triste tone, reminding me of my last in-person interaction with my wonderful sister, Jessie.

Don’t worry! I promise not to veer down and linger on a dreary path, as that would be a faux pas in this festive season! 😊

Let’s carry on!

Carvings on the walls of the heart

Several years ago, right after Christmas, Jessie made a surprising visit to where my parents and I lived in the Pacific Northwest. Unannounced, on a rainy weeknight, she called and said she was at the airport, and we were delighted! Admittedly, I was also puzzled because Jessie was an extraordinary planner: deliberate, meticulous, and organized. Therefore, her seemingly unplanned move bewildered me.
Little did I know how precious those moments would be.
She stayed a while, and after a few days, she returned home. A few weeks later, we received the dreadful call that she was no longer here.

Forever unable to rid the memory from my heart, it is a heartfelt reminder to appreciate those we love while we have them. You might be able to relate. Indeed, given the myriad of unpredictable circumstances, bliss is never guaranteed. As was wisely said, the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong… nor yet favor to men of skill, but time and chance happen to them all.

The memory of Jessie’s passing used to cast a dark shadow over the holidays, but it no longer does. Over the years, I learned to embrace the potency and urgency of love.

The urgency of love

Like a butterfly emerges from a cocoon in due time, love must flow from the heart when present.

For years, when I reflected on my experience with Jessie that holiday, I wondered if I had shown her how much she meant to me those last days and, more importantly, if she felt the extent of my love and admiration for her. Preoccupied with life’s entrapments: things to do, places to go, and work galore, I doubted it, and for a long stint, I deeply regretted the missed opportunity.

Fortunately, I later learned that to dwell in regret is to bask in self-victimization, and there is no honor in self-victimization. However, there is immense value in learning from our mistakes, growing in our capacity to love, and daring to create a better future.

The greatest gift

Over the years, I have clung to and cherished that memory with Jessie, and it is a potent reminder to appreciate those we love when and while we have them. During this holiday season, as we give and receive bountiful gifts, some big and some small, may we take the opportunity to let those we love, know just how much we care for them.

Give generously, receive gracefully, and love earnestly.

For you and to you,


Image credits: Pexels| Lumn



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