Two things happened this week that brightened my world. Both are still somewhat tentative but definitely indicate there is light at the end of the tunnel.
First and foremost
“You can see the therapeutic (remdesivir) benefit faster than the protective (vaccine) benefit. I think there’s a good chance we’ll have substantial death rate reduction by the end of the year with the combination of those new tools.”
Nat Geo reached out and wants to ‘give you the 1st opportunity’ to join the new departure for The Future of Everything: Exploring Global Innovation by Private Jet Trip. It’s from August 21st– September 13 of 2021. The itinerary is planned to be the same –there are minor changes with the instructors but the destinations, hotels, etc remain the same. Let me know if you are interested.”
Pablo Cruz, Continental Travel Group
BEST news I’ve heard in a long while. Of course I replied YES YES YES to Pablo at Continental Travel!
Scroll down to see what else made this week’s TOP 10 LIST.
Well, YES, it is possible to train yourself to be happy and have peace of mind even in times of great stress! And I must thank Naval Ravikant for being such an inspiring guest on Joe Rogan’s podcast in which he shared simple happiness hacks that have positively impacted his life over the last 8 years. I’ve now listened to his podcast 3 times and get something new out of it each time. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
hacks to happiness
Naval believes happiness is a choice. A choice that remains elusive for most of us until we “uncondition” ourselves from the negative thoughts that linger in our minds longer than positive thoughts do.
He also talks about the simple ways all of us can hack our way to happiness:
get more sunlight
spend more time in nature
watch your mind and avoid negative thoughts
Let me add the most important thing I’ve done to regain peace of mind: cut out TV viewing. I haven’t turned on the TV in over a month. I keep up with the news online, it’s still stressful but I can be more selective about how much negativity I let into my life.
Scroll down for the link to Naval’s podcast and for two happiness experiences I had this week.
This past weekend felt as though we had been given the green light to move forward with our lives. For the first time in a long while, I saw people out with friends enjoying themselves and spending money where they could.
I’m even pivoting…
This will be the last of the Lockdown Diaries. Come June (next week!), I’m turning my attention to post-lockdown with a little Hindsight 2020 thrown in for good measure.
Until then, Scroll down for this week’s Top 10 highlights.
I had my first taste of normalcy this week. It was fleeting but it felt great! Hints of a post-pandemic life are in the air.
A slow RETURN TO NORMALCY
Glorious weather and my renewed Citibike membership kicked off a great weekend zipping around town. And I loved seeing restaurants opening and serving slews of happy diners – al fresco style out on the street, of course. It felt good to be around people. And while many of the protocols we now live with feel alien, it’s the spirit of the people that exudes the normalcy.
My horoscope even signaled un-pause was in my future
Scroll down for the week’s top 10 highlights and recommendations
I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last few months. I’m very adaptable and I can find a silver lining in just about anything. I also learned it takes only a few little tweaks to my daily routine to make life way more fun, interesting, and meaningful.
Three things I will definitely keep doing post-lockdown:
Video chats with friends all over the country. How I’ve not done this before is baffling.
Cooking and eating at home. Dinner parties will definitely be front and center going forward.
Virtual workouts. Over the last two months, I have gotten fitter, stronger, and healthier – all due to the trainers and exercise routines I found online.
scroll down for 10 of this week’s top discoveries, recommendations (and irritations)
Welcome to what has now turned into the Lockdown Diaries! One blog post each Friday, filled with a week’s worth of observations, discoveries and challenges.
I am trying to make this long-drawn-out transition from PAUSE to REOPEN somewhat fun and exciting. It’s not easy but here goes.
10 Highlights Of The Week. Enjoy!
1. Construction is back? An important first step.
On Monday, May 4th, I walked through the Lower East Side to my “medical pedicure” (more on that below). I was amazed to see construction sites that had been dormant for the last six weeks buzzing with activity.
My street (see above) was filled with trucks and construction workers. It was a joy to behold.
I also noticed the plant and nursery market, across the street from me, doing brisk commercial business (no walk-in retail). Delivery trucks on hand every day, picking up large plant orders for some obviously essential “stay-in-place” balconies, patios, and backyard gardens.
While construction is getting an early start on re-opening, offices are not expected to open in NYC until September. Google and Facebook, meanwhile, just told their employees they’ll be working from home through the end of the year. Restaurants and international travel are not expected to be fully operational until 2021.
The #100DayReset is my new passion project. The goal is to make the next 100 days count fully even though I am basically holed up in my apartment. But if this is what it takes to make the lockdown exciting, I’m all in.
It means that I’m now in the “Acceptance” phase of the lockdown.
According to Monash University Psychiatrist Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, I’ve entered the 5th phase of self-isolation which is acceptance. That’s when we start to accept our “new” world and find it easier to manage our fluctuating emotions. It also means that we’re starting to live in the “now” and finding new ways to navigate the experience.
I definitely now fully accept that I will not be traveling for months (or even years!), I will not be checking out any new restaurants and I will not be having a birthday party or a holiday party this year.
But, most importantly, I’ve come to terms with the fact that NY and California and many other states, are going to “stay the course” until we have zero COVID deaths. In other words, until there is an approved vaccine. (Anything short of that would signal that the current strategy to save lives but put 30 million people out of work was not the ideal tactic.)
Bill Gates just wrote in his latest GatesNotes that a vaccine could potentially be available within 9 months. But it would be a miracle! Much more likely scenario: 2-4 years. Per Gates, the fastest time a vaccine has ever been developed is five years.
But I refuse to let that fact defeat my spirit
With the #100DayReset I’m challenging myself to make daily discoveries.
Some will come from trekking around, exploring my neighborhood (discovering what’s surreptitiously open is exciting for me).
Others will come from my customized Google news feed (what would we ever do without the internet?)
Some will come from my friends and neighbors and our daily FaceTime videocalls.
What kind of discoveries?
I’m seeking out things that spark my curiosity. For example:
New behaviors, e.g., putting together lists of people you want in your Top 10 Isolation Circle
COVID trends from around the world, e.g., how the Brits are planning to keep over-50’s in lockdown for months with hefty police fines if they catch you sneaking out of the house
New retail/marketing trends, e.g., face mask vending machines
New forms of entertainment, e.g., SNL Home Edition
So strange to realize how small my world has gotten during this lockdown and yet my appetite for discovery is still so massive.
Scroll down to catch up on this week’s 7 discoveries.
It happened this past Wednesday, April 22nd to be precise. A gorgeous Spring day, I went out to do a couple of errands and by the time I got home, the energy had shifted and I was in a completely new and more positive state of mind.
I had an epiphany based on research I’ve been doing!
A few weeks ago when I was feeling particularly despondent, I started a little passion project researching how people who have been forced to live in extreme isolation managed to survive, e.g., people who have been kidnapped, those immunocompromised who have to stay cooped up in their homes, death row inmates in solitary confinement, the Hikikomori (Japanese social recluses). I also came across Viktor Frankl’s inspiring book, Man’s Search for Meaning, which he wrote after he survived the Holocaust. His book has been listed as “one of the ten most influential books in the U.S.” by the Library of Congress and is recommended as one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books to Read In a Lifetime.
Why Bother, You Say?
Because everyone I’ve spoken to over the last few weeks is struggling with these feelings. Most of us are being whiplashed by our emotions. We feel sad, we feel scared, we feel angry. And all in a span of an hour on any single day.
And it’s highly likely that some form of lockdown will be with us for at least a year.
So no matter how we dice and slice it, even with states and countries working on re-opening, it will be sporadic and there will be lots of setbacks as second and third waves of the virus hit.
My intention in doing this research was to learn – and be inspired – by how extreme isolationists have coped with endless fear, loneliness, and boredom while in some form of confinement.
That said, and while we’re clearly not out of the woods yet, something definitely shifted for me last week. I’ve had an attitude adjustment and am feeling much more in control, less anxious, more positive!
Scroll down for what I’ve learned as well as an update on how it’s going in Sweden (and in NY).