The last time I did any appreciable travel pre-COVID-19 was late January 2020. I went down to NYC for a customer meeting. My next trip was supposed to be SQLBits in the UK in March which never happened for obvious reasons. For the better part of the past 20 years, I’ve flown 50 – 100,000 miles per year. Some people I know fly more than that. There are two ways I could have handled the sudden and enforced change in my life: look at it as a problem and be miserable or lean into it and make something of it.

At first, I must be honest and say I was bummed and missed being out there. What I came to realize is that this past year has become a blessing in disguise. Let me explain.

Nearly 20 years on the road does things to your life – both good and bad. There were stretches I was home and sometimes travel came in spurts, but I didn’t earn lifetime status with American Airlines and Marriott because I am a homebody.

What I realized quickly in my forced “staycation” is that I was weary. All those years on the road which came to a sudden halt was like getting off a treadmill still running at full speed. I needed a reset both mentally and physically. Just as COVID was kicking in, I was dealing with a hand issue that was not only hampering my ability to type (affecting work) but also made it hard to play bass. I also realized I had a backlog of projects and other things personally and professionally that were long neglected for one reason or another.

For example, I’ve never worked in an office when at home. I not only set one up, but I figured out a lot of stuff which will influence some exciting things I will announce in the upcoming months. I just never had dedicated time to deal with setting one up when I was home a few days here, maybe a week or two there. Even when I was home, I was working all the time or trying to squeeze one more rehearsal in because I may not be able to play for weeks on end. I didn’t allow myself to slow down. I had to cram something into every moment. That’s normal until it isn’t.

A big silver lining is that 2020 was a busy year for SQLHA. I basically didn’t have downtime all year and just this past week was the first one I took a breath. I am VERY thankful for the work as I know some were not. We have great customers (why aren’t you one? contact us today ;)). I never take it for granted.

Even with being busy, I made myself a priority. I not only feel the best physically I have in years but also rejuvenated. Part of that rejuvenation is being inspired. For example, before these two recent blog posts, I realized I hadn’t written one in nearly six months. I just wasn’t feeling it.

Did 2020 suck in many ways? You bet. It was not all sunshine and roses. I’ll just say this: I certainly have more salt than pepper in my hair after 2020.

Realistically I probably won’t be hitting the road in any meaningful way until later in 2021 or early 2022 since vaccines are just rolling out. Most countries are closed for visitors. Even travel here in the US is iffy to me at the moment. I’m going to continue making lemonade out of lemons by checking items off the aforementioned list of backlogged projects. I know I can’t tackle them all at once, but it feels good to be making forward progress. I am also making sure I give myself some time, too. Self-care matters. You’re no good to anyone if you’re exhausted.

When the time comes, I’ll be grateful to be out and about again and am looking forward to seeing all of you outside of a screen. I know one thing for sure: I will appreciate it that much more. Until then, stay safe and healthy.