What I Learned – Living Through a Pandemic

It was about a year ago when we started to take the pandemic seriously. Sure, the White House continued to say that it wasn’t going to be an issue, but just about everyone who thinks squares have right angles and the world is round saw that there was an issue developing.

Companies began making people work from home, sports leagues began considering what they should do, and other countries to the west, south, and east of the United States considered ways to contain the disease from spreading in their nation.

So here we are, one year later. We all learned some things about ourselves and others. I’d love to hear your lists, but this is what stands out to me.

  1. Working from home is efficient: There are fewer 30 minute meetings that are wastes of time. And thanks to the miracle of “Stop Video” you can get work done during those meetings that are a waste. This alone adds time to your day.
  2. Not having to commute is wonderful: The average person living and working in Seattle proper could spend anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour trying to get downtown. And it was worse for anyone living in the surrounding areas. It’s like adding a whole extra hour to the day.
  3. However, people are fun, especially the ones who aren’t top of mind: COVID quarantine made me realize that being sequestered made me unconsciously filter my friends and colleagues the same way that Facebook and Google News filter my news feed. It’s true that I text messaged with friends about 2000% more than 2019, but the breadth of the number of people I spoke to narrowed significantly. Without Sounders matches, birthday parties, playing softball and soccer, or going to work, I missed out on hearing what huge swaths of the population were doing. That was a shame.
  4. Even with all the extra hours that I acquired during the day, I still didn’t complete everything I wanted to. I started the year with so many ideas – the book idea, the tv show idea, some startup ideas, learning a new language, studying technical analysis, getting in shape, etc… Some of these things I did well on, some I got started on and are in a holding pattern, and some fell by the wayside. So now I realize I shouldn’t listen to people who say, “They didn’t have time.”
  5. I like to cook: Man, I love to cook now. Give me a pile of books about NBA history or a pile of recipe books, and I know which one I’ll get through.
  6. Writing is harder when you don’t leave the house: No matter how hard I tried, I found writing to be more difficult during quarantine. There’s something about having external stimulus through the day to stimulate the imagination, or being able to sit in a coffee shop or bar with your laptop for an alternative work setting, that gets the words flowing.
  7. Twitter is a lens to the parts of the country I never travel: I was shocked this year to see how many people ignore facts, hypocritically contradict themselves from tweet to tweet, and in general, just make the country a worse place. I guess I’ve been lucky that my friends and colleagues are civil, rational people. Even the ones who I disagree with politically are grounded in reality. I had no idea there were so many people who could jump in a lake and swear to God that they never got wet.
  8. This year will not be easy: There’s some relief out there that with the vaccine, life can get back to “normal.” However, we’re going to have to redefine “normal.” It was not normal in previous years to have Congresspeople bring guns to work, people driving pickup trucks waving flags on the street, staying isolated for long periods of time, and implementing permanent work from home strategies. We’re going to have plenty of people who refuse vaccines, so the pandemic will rage on for years, hopefully limiting illness to the people who fail to take any precautions. But these continued illnesses will be a drain on our hospitals, tax dollars, and moral compass. When people without insurance who refuse a vaccine and refuse to wear a mask get violently ill, we’re going to have to suck it up and take care of them. That’s the way my cohort works at least.

I should add that of course I miss people, family dinners, travel, sports, conversation, great restaurants, etc… But I think we knew all that beforehand.

Would love to hear some of the things you learned.

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