At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wrote about mindfulness, staying calm, allowing ourselves to understand that we are not in control and learning to be OK with that, and making the most out of the situation. For example, being in sales requires me to be on the road often meeting with customers and going to events and tradeshows. Of course, I enjoy that very much and it is my favorite part of my job. That being said, there is a silver lining to the tranquility of being still. I also very much enjoy living in NYC. At least one would hope so based on how expensive the rent is. But there is a silver lining to being in the suburbs now. Even something as simple as the serenity of a run on the bike trail is not something I can get back home.
Keeping in mind that we should be grateful for what we do have and not the things which we lack, it is still OK to miss and yearn for certain things. After all, building such a desire allows us to fully appreciate those things if and when we are able to have them again in the future. I have had many conversations with friends and families about the things they miss the most. Here is my list:
- Going to the Gym
I belong to a few gyms to fulfill my appetite for interval training, mixed martial arts, and general fitness. It brings me a lot of joy when I stay physically active. And even though I have been maintaining my own regimen on my own, I do miss being around the people I have gotten to know in these places and the routines I have built. And while it has been fun designing my own “KirchFit” classes (you should join if you need a very difficult virtual workout), there is a difference between performing movements on a yoga mat in a basement and doing a real, live partner-based workout with equipment galore.
Unfortunately, a couple of trips I was really looking forward to were canceled this summer. I was probably the first person on the website to buy tickets for the Euro Cup this summer in Rome, Amsterdam, and Azerbaijan. I was really looking forward to the opportunity of visiting those cities and seeing what the atmosphere was like for the soccer matches. My girlfriend also had a trip to Positano in Italy that was going to be a prequel to the Euro Cup.
My first trip to Asia was set to take place for the Tokyo Olympic games in August, which were unceremoniously canceled as well. There is even chatter about the rescheduled date in 2021 being canceled! I hear Tokyo is an amazing city, so that was definitely a bummer.
I routinely am traveling for work and for pleasure. If you asked me what is my “why” – why do I want to make money – a primary driver would be traveling the world. I am curious and adventurous by nature and want to see as much of the world as I can before I die. As much as I do enjoy the peacefulness of being at home, I do miss travel and I look forward to a time where I can travel safely again.
- Going to Restaurants
One silver lining to the current situation is that I have been a lot healthier, both in terms of my workouts (I exercise at least once per day and on most days, twice), but also in terms of diet. I used to eat out virtually all the time when I was younger, but I have been doing a much better job of cooking for myself over the last couple of years. Over the last couple of months, I have been cooking or making almost every single meal for myself.
We have developed a tradition called “Pizza Saturday,” which is a night of the week we reserve for going out and picking up pizza. In a way, it’s designed to be a little bit funny – we are self-aware of the limited food options and making light of how special the occasion is to go out and get a pizza. And to be fair, I have really come to appreciate going out for a meal. But there is a difference between picking up a pizza and going to your favorite spot for a pizza and feeling the buzz of the people around you, sharing the experience with a loved one and/or family and friends. New York City has no shortage of great restaurant options, and I really miss being able to go out to my favorite places or being able to go out and try new places.
- Sporting Events
Hearing that the NHL season was postponed was soul-crushing for me. I am a die-hard Boston Bruins fan and the Bruins were getting primed for another Stanley Cup run with the best record in the league this season. This is the time of year I really look forward to the most from a sports perspective. Last season, I was very fortunate to be able to attend most of the games of their Stanley Cup run. Now it is unclear if and when they will ever play again. I did enjoy re-watching the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals games when the local sports station was playing them a few weeks back.
As a sports fanatic, I have been pretty hungry for sports. I am even thinking of watching the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning golf tournament coming up, and I don’t even like golf. I will take pretty much anything they put on the TV at this point. Of primary interest to me now is what will happen to the NFL season. There is nothing I love more than football Sunday with all of my friends at any bar in New York City spending an entire day watching all of the games and obsessing over fantasy football.
- Friends and Family
This one is probably pretty obvious, but count me in amongst the many who have used this moment to appreciate more the time I have with my friends and family. Living in New York City, it is easy to come up with excuses to not be in touch with some people as much as we should be. It is just a busy place to be and there is always something to do – there never seems to be enough time in the day. Ironically, I have found myself in touch with many of my closest friends and family a lot more during the pandemic than I was prior to the pandemic. I have been leading a virtual workout class that many of my friends and co-workers participate in and that has allowed me to stay in touch with some of my closest friends while even allowing me to get back in touch with old friends or make new friends (through my friends) altogether.
On the family front, my family has kept in very close touch. We have been FaceTiming multiple times a week, and prior to this, I do not think we had used FaceTime at all. It saddens me to think about the duration of time that may need to pass before I can see my parents again, who are at elevated risk, and my grandmother, who is 90 years old and all by herself. I had a plan to take my father to a Michigan football game this fall for his 70th birthday and even that plan is now in jeopardy.
Suffice it to say, I worry the most about my friends and family and have taken this opportunity to tell myself to never take them for granted. I have observed, unfortunately, that even in this time of shared suffering that our political differences have carried over with each side lacking empathy for the other. I truly hope when we tell ourselves that we will be better to our friends and family after this, that we mean it, and that when things go back to normal, that our memories will not be fragile.