I think there are many stages within this COVID-19 pandemic. I’m not talking about the disease itself, but rather the experience of living through these times—the fluctuating levels of denial, acceptance, despair, bread making, hope, and every emotion in between that hit in droves.

At home, in your soft pants.

Much in the way a faucet degrades, it started with a tiny drip that didn’t seem like much. At first, it was just some noise in the background, a blip here or there on the news. But all of a sudden it started gushing faster, until the whole sink nearly overflowed and we had to act fast.

It was terrifying knowing Schwabe, and every other company, had to mobilize overnight in the face of uncertainty. And we rallied. We got the entire firm online. With attorneys and staff across eight different physical offices…

I’ll be the first to raise one HUGE glass to our IT department.

So we got to work. Took care of each other, worried about our clients. Leaned into our new normal. Embraced novelty. I learned to appreciate digital real-time moments with my humans. 

But then I hit a wall. The newness of working from home and taking Zoom calls in my backyard has worn off, and the reality—a deep sense of loss and uncertainty—has set in.

I know (or at least hope) it’s temporary, but it does not feel that way. And I somehow realize, with unease at the lack of full delineation, that this is the beginning of a new normal. I simultaneously grieve the glorious past and the unknown future.

I’m over it. I want connection, celebration, and normalcy. I want a big fat party with people, lots of people!

Short of that, I am sustained by unexpected new moments during this pandemic: I celebrated a friend’s birthday in a high school’s parking lot with a ukulele while maintaining good social distancing from others. It was the highlight of my week, since I got to see good friends once more. 

In case you are experience similar feeling and mood swings these days, I wanted to share the following article: “If you’re hitting a wall, you’re not alone.” The key messages resonated with me, and it was a good reminder that we are all grieving in our own way. 

What’s on the other side of the wall?

This got me thinking about the future—what do I want for Schwabe when we are on the other end of this pandemic? What do I want people to remember about this time? 

I want us to fondly recall the fight against a common viral enemy, the increased collaboration, and the inward focus to ensure that we remain healthy, physically and otherwise.

And I’m optimistic we’ll get there together.

What is the first thing I will do once this pandemic ends? 

Eat fried chicken. Yep. Fried chicken served at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant no one knows about and made by someone other than me. 

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