One Year Office-Free!

A year ago, my husband and I got word from our daughter in college in California that classes were going 100% virtual for the rest of the school year due to what was quickly becoming a public health crisis. I was starting to get very nervous about her being so far away from us as at that point, no one knew what we were in for, let alone what to do about it. She was going to come home for spring break anyway, but we didn’t want her out there alone any longer than she had to be.

All around us we were hearing of students studying abroad being sent home and parents like us making quick travel plans to get their kids to them as quickly as possible. We didn’t miss a beat and got her on the next flight back. My son’s district called a two-week stop to school as well. So, with the kids safely in the nest, my husband I felt better even if our work situations were up in the air.

Leaving the office at the end of that week, I packed my laptop and chargers, some paper files, and my notebook, just in case we got the word that we’d be taking a work-from-home period for a few weeks, as we’d discussed might happen. Well, the work-from-home situation was called and this week marks one year of living that telecommuting life. Of course, what was supposed to be a few weeks turned into one year of online learning for the kids (my daughter has returned to campus but still taking classes virtually, while my son will begin the last two months of his senior year in a hybrid setting next week), and getting my job done in the same room I sleep, exercise, and veg in.

We’ve all learned a lot through the last year, so here are 10 things I’ve appreciated from this very unexpected and strange turn of events.

  1. I don’t need an office to accomplish and increase my work. My laptop and notebook are all I’ve needed.
  2. As a self-proclaimed girly-girl, daily makeup wearing is overrated. (But who am I kidding, I’ll still put some on when we eventually head back).
  3. When one has to wear a mask most of the time, lipstick is completely unnecessary and dare I say it, foolish.
  4. While seeing people in the flesh is nice, Zoom has been a bit nicer. Our team has communicated and collaborated more than when we worked in person.
  5. Living in a virtual context has allowed me to attend all kinds of events, readings, and seminars that I would never have been able to otherwise.
  6. The pandemic and the virtual life reconnected my high school senior year squad of BFFs. I hadn’t spoken to some of them in 20 years. Now we “meet” up monthly. That’s been an unexpected blessing.
  7. Telehealth Therapy—a lot of us have needed it, my family included, and healthcare companies and practitioners have it super accessible now.
  8. Zooming to different churches. I’ve enjoyed tuning in to some of my favorite California congregations instead of my usual local church. It’s been refreshing and affirming.
  9. More time—for lots of things. This past year my Indian food cooking game has grown exponentially, I’m averaging reading one book a week, I’ve written a children’s book, launched this blog, am working on another book project, and am dipping my toes into the world of podcasting.
  10. We’ve explored more of our area than ever before through “Drive and Eats.” We find a new and highly rated take-out spot (up to an hour away), order online en route, pick up and eat in the car (it’s still cold here).

We’re not completely out of the woods yet, and I’m all for remaining prudent with mask-wearing and social distancing with the unvaccinated, at least for a bit longer, but like spring blossoms, there are signs of hope poking through.

Despite a lot of sadness and suffering, surely there have been some good moments sprinkled here and there. What are they for you?  

Photo by Mikayla Mallek on Unsplash

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