"You're on mute." Yeah, I'm that guy on Microsoft Teams. You'd think that after nine months of remote meetings I'd remember to toggle on my mic when it's my turn to speak.
Given the chance, I'd have told my pre-pandemic self to brush up on the basics of virtual calls back when Teams were what I cheered for when stadiums allowed fans in attendance.
When reports of coronavirus hot spots began to circulate in March, I huddled with the editorial team minutes after AORN's leadership announced the cancellation of the organization's annual Conference & Expo. It was a shocking development, but a series of nationwide shutdowns followed that has forever changed life as we knew it.
At the time, I would have given our editors a proper goodbye had I known we wouldn't see each other for nine months (and counting) when we walked out of our office, heading for the relative safety of remote workspaces.
Our team has been through so much, both professionally and personally, without being together. The bond among us has only grown stronger through online connections that make social distancing feel less distant. Still, I'm looking forward to collaborating with them again in person.
I would have also told my pre-pandemic self to be more appreciative of the opportunity to watch my son and daughter attend virtual school. Trying to be a fulltime editor and part-time teacher has been difficult on most days and impossible on others, but maybe someday I'll only remember the joy of listening to them interact with their teachers and grow as students.
If nothing else, they'll graduate from online learning having mastered the mute button on their virtual platforms.
Although my chatty kindergartner who never lets the facts get in the way of a good story has the opposite problem as her dad, which her teacher is quick to point out: "Dear, please remember to put yourself on mute."
I would have also warned myself about the importance of self-care and of sticking to a wellness routines. Working where you live can feel isolating, especially without access to normal recreational activities that help you blow off steam or feel recentered. Weekly trips to the grocery store get me out of the house, but walking down the frozen food aisle doesn't recharge the batteries like walking down a fairway at dusk. This is a time for New Year's resolutions, but even they seem trite under the current circumstances. Lose weight? Sure, I could stand to work off my pandemic paunch. Spend more time with my family? I'm not sure that's humanly possible.
My true resolutions involve craving some sense of normalcy.
I want to reenter society without having to wear a mask. I'd like to go out to dinner with my wife and take our kids to the movies.
I want to hang out with my parents, my brother and my sister, and their kids at the same time. I want to be among the crowd at a concert or baseball game in the worst way. Maybe sometime soon.
Plenty of people want to flip the calendar on 2020 and forget about the pain and stress the year has caused for so many. Can you blame them? We're all ready to move on to what we hope are better days ahead. Twelve months from now, let's hope we're looking back fondly at a year filled with health, happiness and human connection. OSM