I believe the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced what some of us already knew, but maybe didn’t fully appreciate: deep relationships and human connection are what give us the most joy and satisfaction in life. With all of the suffering around the world, it’s hard to say anything good about the period of time we have had to spend in quarantine, but the time I have spent with my kids and family has been a pleasure that could never have happened otherwise. Game nights on Sundays, eating meals together, going on long walks, and just talking. While it hasn’t been all good, it’s been a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget and for which I am grateful.
I also hope most of us acquire an even greater appreciation for the pleasure of being with people. I miss being in the NAHREP office and feeing the energy of a big team working together. I miss my friends. I miss conventions and sporting events. I miss the feeling of packing my suitcase the night before I leave on a business trip or weekend getaway with Kathy. I miss restaurants, hotels, and live theater; but more than anything I think I miss the people who I encounter at all of those places. I miss the bartenders, Uber drivers, ushers, flight attendants, waitresses and busboys. The people who hustle to make our lives a little more comfortable. I hope I never take those people for granted again. When the pandemic is over, I hope we all recognize what a privilege it is to meet new people, to learn a little about their lives and to try to bring a little joy to each other. There is nothing more fulfilling in life than human connection.