COVID Insights, Perspectives April 14, 2020

Personal Reflections on My Time At Home During the Pandemic

by David Damon, Principal

Over the past few years, my travel has spiked so much that I’ve been on a flight nearly every week and spend about 100 nights a year away from home. Near and far-flung flights, long distance Ubers, 27-hour days, and the TSA-shuffle. So when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down life as we know it, my meetings shifted completely online just like the rest of the world—a commute of one flight of stairs. It has been incredibly beneficial for me, allowing for time to be productive and time to reflect.

Sunset on the tarmac was a regular sight for me, having spent a third of last year on the road.
Planes, trains, and ubers became my second office.

The positive changes have been holistic. Those joys that you love, that have been lost due to the hamster-wheel cycle of business—like cooking, for example—are now there for the making every night. Some modest gardening is always an option at arms-length. Next up, I’m hoping to find some time to restart my love of reading (mostly 17th-19th century history). These are things to soak in. For all things change, but perhaps some of these new cycles will last.

I have been thinking about 3 things that I believe will be lifelong impacts from this era. White papers, novellas, and tomes will be written, but these imprints will forever be in our memories and mindsets.

On the list of experiences to soak in: dinner alfresco.

01 ― Crises of this magnitude scar people, some for life.

It’s not asking if our past norms, rituals, and habits will change—it’s a matter of which ones. Just think back to past family generations who endured the Great Depression. We each know what habits our grandparents kept throughout life from those devastating years. In my case, my grandmother was always so concerned about scarcity and deprivation.

02 ― We have taken a quantum leap forward into virtual connectedness, and we will come through this being even more connected.

Before? We could easily lose ourselves in the daily solo-solving of issues and lose connectivity within the same office. Now? This new norm has pushed us to increase the frequency and, sometimes, quality of check-ins—including turning on your cameras. This is a good thing, a great thing, and one that we will continue as a positive lesson.

03 ― For those of us who have been forced into an extraordinarily extended amount of time with our family and close friends, this is a once-in-a-lifetime gift.

For me, connection to family is by far the biggest positive in this crisis—an experience that has not been granted to everyone, and one that I am deeply grateful for. If you can, make the most of it, laugh together, make plans together, enjoy quality time, relish it. It will never be like this again.

A new kind of "window seat."