What’s Changed for You in the Last Month? – A COVID Tale

April 3rd, 2020 by John Richelsen

I was in a writing workshop with my friends at FrazierHeiby, a great communications firm in Columbus, Ohio. They asked us the question “What’s changed in your life in the last month?”


I’ve often said that I like the zombie genre because it’s basically a plague story. Stephen King’s “The Stand” remains as one of my favorite novels I’ve ever read. But you know, it’s not terribly entertaining when you’re in your own place hoping to stave off Captain Trips.


The biggest change in my life over the past month? Well that’s somewhat hard to say. I work from a home office and do the teleconference thing. So that isn’t drastically different. And there have definitely been times when my car has cobwebs in it from lack of use. So social distancing hasn’t been that traumatic.


I’d have to say the biggest change for me is perspective. A world view perspective and how everything is interrelated. Everyone is being asked to social distance – including my wife. So now she’s home all the time. It seems we eat all the time. MSNBC is on all the time (I’m a liberal so that’s the law). It’s been non-stop news and it can be overwhelming. Yet so far, we haven’t turned into the Lord of the Flies.


The level of change, from a national and global scope, has been exponential. And with that, the level of uncertainty. When will things start to get back to normal? Will my kids, who are thrust to the four winds, be ok? When will my clients come back? Will there be a summer? Memorial Day party? Golf league? Grassroots Music Festival? What will normal look like on the other side? I’m a bit of a planner (well, maybe a plotter). I like to know what comes next or at least have a game plan in place. As of right now – I don’t know what tomorrow looks like or what it will bring.


It’s made me thankful for what I do have. We have a very strong family. We stick together. We have a text thread with 20 of us on it  – and if there isn’t something bandied about on the daily, then my phone must be broken. We have monthly family dinners, even if there isn’t a holiday that month (“Mom, are you taking February?”). I’m glad I have those people – now more than ever.


I have great business partners that work really hard and that I can trust. We have great clients (and some so-so ones). Our little 5-year old business is doing OK despite the crisis – although the forecast was a lot better pre-COVID.  I can accomplish what I have to do for the most part as long as I have my laptop and an internet connection. So I’m thankful for that.


My liquor store delivers. That’s made me more thankful than you can imagine. 😉


But overall, this virus has given me perspective – and some degree of hope. Two months ago, in the throes of impeachment, I would never have thought the country could put away its petty yet virulent squabbles. We have been increasingly standing on two separate peaks with no indication that we’d see eye to eye. But the virus has had a leveling effect on us all. We’re in this together, for better or for worse. And maybe, just maybe, we can come out on the other side as a better place.