The news has been full of stories recently commemorating the first anniversary of the COVID-19 virus’s upending of life as we knew it in Canada.
There has been thoughtful analysis of how our country has coped during the pandemic, first-person accounts of how the crisis has affected individual Canadians and photo essays capturing the year in pictures. I’ve even read a detailed day-by-day, diary-like summary of the week of March 9-16, showing how the country slowly shut down as the pandemic jumped from one round of bad news to another.
All of this media attention prompted my own exercise in reflection, and the main take-away message has been how incredibly naïve I was last year at this time.
I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone.
In April my wife and I had to make a financial decision that depended on whether the pandemic was still affecting small businesses by the end of July.
Option one made more sense if everything was back to normal by then, and option two made more sense if the virus was still a threat in July and pandemic restrictions were still in place.
We decided to go with option one, concluding that if COVID was still around by July, we were going to have bigger problems to deal with than just this financial decision.
It turned out we were wrong.
Then there was the decision we had to make about renewing our season tickets for the local live theatre company for the 2020-21 season starting in September. Surely this would all be over by September, we figured, and pulled the trigger on the tickets.
However, the story that I think best reflects how blind we were to what was coming happened very early on.
We were vacationing in Victoria from March 7-22, and sometime in the second week I phoned my boss to find out if I would be allowed back into the office when I got home, considering I was going to be spending time in an airplane.
The reply was that I would have to work from home for two weeks, and I was so averse to the idea that I suggested taking another two weeks of vacation instead.
My boss gently replied that I could take more holidays if I wished, but everybody was moving to home offices, and that was unlikely to end in two weeks.
Oh, the naivety of it all.