A year ago, the world changed.
I was at work, little knowing that it was the last time I’d ever work in an office setting. We gathered together in the conference room and made the decision to cancel our upcoming event, which was a month away. And then we were all sent home. I took one final ride on the ferry, my main vehicle for daily commuting, and I haven’t been on it since. I returned to the office a few times to pack my things for an impending move and gather up personal items to bring home, but I never spent more than a couple hours there again. Ditto for my business’s new location.
Little did I know it would be the last time I worked in an office. The coming year would force me to focus on what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. When confronted with the threat of a worldwide pandemic and the chance that you could catch this horrible disease because you were high-risk due to age and underlying conditions, you tend to think differently.
The past year has taught me a lot. While I’ve always been a bit of a loner, I learned how to better deal with being alone: How to structure my days, how to better watch my money, how to slow down and take it easy. While I had been considering retirement over the past five years—either promising or threatening, depending on the point of view of my employer—the concept still seemed unfocused, way off on the horizon. The pandemic brought it closer and clearer to me and made me realize the past year was, in a sense, basic training for retirement.
It’s still hard for me to believe that life has changed so much for so many of us. I’m amongst the lucky ones: I’m totally vaccinated, happily retired, and looking forward to a bit more freedom when it comes to travel and embbracing little things like dining out and seeing movies in theaters again, and most importantly, spending time with friends. It’s scary to think how fast this disease moved around the world, and how many people it killed and that it could happen again. I have tentatively—hopefully!—planned some travel for later this year, but for now, life is like my daily walks: One step at a time.
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