The longest night of my life started on a grim December day in Moscow about 10 years ago. The sky was nearly dark when I boarded a mid-afternoon flight for Munich, the first stop on my trip home from a trade show. Germany, too, was dark as I hustled to make the connection to the Newark-bound flight. Airborne, we flew west with the night. And it occurred to me that it would be a long, long time before I’d see the sun again. It felt like forever. It kind of was.
Sound familiar? You, too, may feel as if you’ve been flying west with the night for the last year and a half. Although there have been periods when the night sky dazzled promisingly with northern lights and dense constellations — hello, second dose! Hello, maskless indoor dining! — it sometimes seems as if we will never see the sun again, as the Delta variant digs in its heels, vaccine hesitancy remains stubbornly persistent and arguments about masking or not masking take center stage.
In June, many companies and agencies in our ecosystem started to announce plans to reopen their offices and return, at least a few days a week, to working in their offices. Despite the myriad complications and what-ifs of implementing policies around working in the office — should we require employees to be vaccinated? Can I leave food in the fridge? How many people in the elevator? — such plans offered a glimmer of hope to a return to a semblance of normalcy.
Then came August.
The Delta variant roared to prominence and once again the headlines gloomed news of overflowing ICUs filled mostly with unvaccinated patients. Companies announced delays in the back-to-work routines, and institutions such as restaurants and museums put vaccine requirements in place. People felt scared again. And tired. Like the night would never end.
Well, I’m here to tell you that I am going to make my own sunrise, and I encourage you to join me if you can. I’m vaccinated, I have lots of masks and sanitizer, and the luxury of being able to choose where I go and when I do it. So I’m going back to the office. Come mid-September, I’ll be on Seventh Avenue a few days a week. I’m going to be sensible about it and not tempt fate, but I feel as if I’m well-armed to return to some kind of routine that doesn’t involve sweats, talking to the cats and slumping on the couch. Creativity may not have diminished during COVID, but it hasn’t thrived. It’s time to see each other again. In person.
Are you in? Let me know. I’ll buy the coffee.