By Jon Aldrich
Let’s take a bit of break from all the gloom and doom of the pandemic and its disruption on millions of people’s lives and finances and of course its effect on the markets. I want to change course a bit and focus on the positive developments that have come from all of this.
Most of us that are not required to be on the front lines for work such as healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store workers and those in other essential businesses have spent a lot of time “sheltering in place”. Many of us have spent more time with other family members the last few weeks than they may have ever spent, and depending on who you ask that may have been good or bad.
I wanted to share a few observations from my extended time at home with my family and what I think are several positive developments.
Quality Time With Family – We have my oldest son, Trent home from college and Trey is a high school senior so he is home as well. The last few years as the boys have been in high school and now college, they don’t really spend much time at home. Well, all that has changed over the last several weeks, since they can’t really go anywhere. We have done more things together as a family over this time than we have in several years. This includes playing a lot more cards, watching T.V. shows, working out in the yard and just talking. We actually eat at the dinner table together as a family now! Once the pandemic is over, I am sure this will all revert back to how things were, but at least we have this time together now.
Eating Better Meals – Since we are not getting home from work at all hours, we are able to plan better, healthier meals now as a family, and not as much frozen items and fast-food. (Although frozen pizza is still a staple). My youngest son, Trey, has really stepped up and makes great meals for us many nights during the week and meals we have not had before or for a long time. I am going to miss this a lot once the quarantine is over.
Embracing and Learning to use Technology better – I think most of us are getting more adept at utilizing technology such as using Zoom or other applications for virtual meetings not only for work, but staying in touch with friends during this time when we cannot really get together. My wife, Tammy, who has never really been all that tech savvy is on virtual meetings for work every day, and weekly Zoom meetings with several of her friends.
Working From Home Efficiently – We were well prepared for working remotely here at Focus, and have been able to do a good job continuing to run operations relatively seamlessly from our homes. I do miss going into the office everyday and look forward when we can return, but this has been a nice change of pace of a few weeks. I even have learned to start making and editing videos that I hope to start doing a lot more of in the future. Here is my first attempt about working from home (it can only get better from here):
[video width="640" height="360" mp4="https://www.focusfinancialadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/WFH-4-16-2020.mp4"][/video]
Yard Looks Really Good – We have more time to get the whole family involved with yard work. The yard is really looking good and a project we have put off for years, removing invasive honeysuckle and buckthorn from our woods is finally taking shape. It is backbreaking work, but we spend a couple hours several days a week uprooting this brush, so that the native trees and plants can flourish. We also have to get it done before prime mosquito season, although the deer ticks are out in droves, so we have to watch out for those evil critters. We also had a lot of dead trees to cut up and the boys have been getting some good workouts splitting wood with the axe instead of using the wood splitter.
Grocery Pick-up Is Really Cool – We are trying to avoid going anywhere in public, so that means trying to avoid going to the grocery store. We have started utilizing the online grocery shopping apps and picking up our groceries a couple of days later. Not only does it save a lot of time in the actual store, but we also have a lot less worry about coming into contact with the virus. We can all add groceries to the list up until the night before pick-up so this has been really helpful. We will probably continue to do it after things return to normal.
I am sure everyone’s situation is different, but these are some of the positive developments I am seeing at my house. It also helps that there are no live sports to distract me or the yard work and brush cleanup may not have made as much progress as it has. I really do miss live sports during these last several weeks, but after a couple weeks, it has not been all that hard to adjust to the new reality. That is where Netflix and HBO have been lifesavers. Of course, once live sports are back, it will be nice, but I am not so sure my wife shares these same feelings.
I also feel for Trey and other high school seniors and all that they are missing in their senior year of high school. For Trey, his robotics season was cut short, his prom cancelled, and it is probably unlikely he will have a formal graduation ceremony let alone graduation party. Also think of all the seniors that participated in spring sports such as baseball, softball and track and not getting to compete in your senior year.
I think the toughest part for me has been not being able to get out on the golf course on some of these nice days. That has been hard, but in the big picture it is a small sacrifice to make to get through all this. There will be plenty of time to get out and lose golf balls after we have conquered the virus. The main thing is that we and our loved ones stay healthy (and sane) through all of this.