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We Asked the Association World: What are you most excited to do when the pandemic ends? (Part I)

Last week, I overhead my daughter talking to a handful of friends about all the things they hoped to do once the pandemic ended.  What struck me about the conversation was their discussion did not include big grandiose plans and wild adventures but rather everyday tasks and activities such as going out to lunch with friends, a trip to the movies or taking our dog to the dog park. 

Inspired by their conversation, I decided to reach out to a handful of my "association VIPs" and ask them what they missed, what did they want to do once we could resume some sense of normalcy.

The answers reminded me how far off we are from what was previously common in our everyday lives. But at the same time, they made me laugh, were therapeutic and provided a sense of connection. 

And with that... “What are some of the things you’re most looking forward to doing once the pandemic has been controlled and we’re able to live something close to normal life again?” 

Moira H. Edwards, Ellipsis Partners LLC

I think the thing I miss the most is having plans. And those could be small plans like going for lunch with friends, or big plans like taking a vacation abroad. But the key thing is having something to look forward to, and that always makes whatever the current slog is bearable. For me the slog has not changed that much, I’m still working from home, doing a lot of video calls, working remotely with clients. But the difference is that there is nothing to really break up the long stretch ahead of me. I look forward to having plans again. I look forward to making lists for what to bring on trips. I look forward to planning the meals we will have on beach vacations. I look forward to having a clear sense of the future, no matter how much of an illusion that might be.

Liam O’Malley, Blue Sky eLearn

I had to think about this a bit. My family and I locked down early and quick due to some high risk in my immediate circle. And I said then and still say now, only half-jokingly, that quarantine is basically what my social life already was these days anyway. I am fortunate enough to on a large and beautiful piece of land with most of my loved ones nearby. Still as time has worn on, of course I’ve found myself missing things. I have two young kids at home – 8 and 4 – and while they have generally kept good spirits throughout, I know they miss their friends. My daughter’s 9th birthday is coming up in a few weeks and it will be a new experience for all of us. I’m looking forward to seeing them back together with the friends they love, their grandparents, and extended family. Those will be great moments.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a not-insignificant-amount of relief and not actually having to go to the 4, 5, 6… 10? - conferences I had on the calendar for the spring. And yet now I do find myself missing having had any opportunities at all to connect with my colleagues across our little worlds, and I am eager for the resumption of these patterns of my life.

I’m definitely looking forward to date night. I think first up is going to be a nice long session at Spa World followed by Korean BBQ.

And frankly – I think – man, it’ll be nice to have a string of quiet days at the (home) office. My life these days has very little space for any down time to stop and process. I know my work and life will both benefit immensely from that.

I’ll end on an optimistic note. I’m honestly really eager to see what the new normal looks like. I personally hope we don’t recognize it all that much. This is a dark time for our country but there are so many things we can learn and adopt from going through these challenges together and the solidarity that so many have shown. I hope it doesn’t all just wash away. I hope we can bring this patience, understanding, and kindness, back to the workplace with us. Back to our schools, and back to our society at large. I hope that we are able to bring long-lasting positive change into our lives throughout as a result of this extended collective trauma.

Paul Gannon, Thoughtcast Media

Above all, I’m looking forward to family celebrations. In two weeks, I’ll see eight family members at my niece’s wedding. (That’s eight family members, me, and the priest, in case you were wondering.) The elaborate wedding celebration, which has been in the works for over a year has been reduced to a quick ceremony and Panera sandwiches in the parking lot. So, I’m looking forward to family celebrations, without masks, without fear of getting sick or making someone else sick. Next on my list is baseball. It’s the only sport I really follow now, and I can’t wait to go to a game with my sons. Heck, I can’t wait to score a game I’m listening to on the radio. Finally, I desperately need a haircut. The enormous hair helmet has got to go!

Gayathri Kher, fusionSPAN

The past 7 weeks have been quite an eye-opener for me. I really thought I would miss being in a physical office and early on I did. But now I am really enjoying spending commute time with my family sans any signs of road rage. I have also consistently closed all activity rings on my Apple Watch since lockdown. "The kids" have mastered roller blading, biking and more…. and it has been great to ACTUALLY be a part of their learning. So… mentally and physically definitely in a better place. 

I do however miss the sense of freedom. The freedom to hop on a plane for work or pleasure, to visit a local winery, to even order take out without having to plan the process of sanitizing before serving. Most of all I miss date night where my husband and I ventured out for dinner, drinks and a movie. I also really miss visiting my niece and playing who is going to turn 2 in September. How quickly they grow…. 

Most of all when a sense of normalcy returns, I hope to be able to find a balance. We are all human after all and when choice returns our priorities tend to change. I am hoping I make the right choices prioritizing family and being a good partner both at home & at work. 

Next...

If you are like me, you find comfort in ability to control--that we are the author of our destiny. This pandemic has turned that feeling upside down. There is no true timetable to starting up again or what that even looks like. This sense of not knowing is distracting.  And yet, I hope by reading these responses you smiled, laughed, found focus or (fill in the blank).

We will be publishing additional responses to “What are some of the things you’re most looking forward to doing once the pandemic has been controlled and we’re able to live something close to normal life again?” throughout the week. Enjoy -- Patrick.