A few months ago, the world was mourning the death of legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant. Tragically dying in a plane crash, Kobe was taken away from this world way too soon. I remember reading the first news alert on my phone and immediately texting my Dad, “is this for real?” Approximately 45 days later, I said those exact words to my Dad once again. Sadly, thanks to COVID-19... this world is very real.
So what does this new world look like to me? Well, for starters, I haven’t had dinner with my family in 6 weeks. It’s a total bummer since I just celebrated a birthday – alone. My parents are in their 70s which puts them in a high-risk group. If you know me at all, you know my Dad is my favorite person and making the decision to stop going to their house was incredibly difficult. While I think it would be fine to see them on occasion, especially since I don’t go anywhere else, I just felt it was that “just in case” factor that I could control. My dog Georgia still plays at their house on the weekends since she brings them such happiness – and honestly, a sense of normalcy that is very much needed.
Besides missing my family, I really wish I could see my friends. However, three of my close friends are nurses - one at Grady, one at Emory and one at WellStar. As you can imagine, they are in direct contact with people who test positive every single day. I worry about them constantly which is not productive... they just tell me to stay home and continue social distancing to help flatten the curve. As badly as I would like to see them again soon, I don’t want that day to be in the hospital. I have so much admiration for my friends and everyone else on the front line – I can’t imagine being at a hospital right now and seeing what this awful virus is doing to the world.
Being alone in my own thoughts all the time is overwhelming. I’m not used to living in a world where I’m in a constant state of anxiety. I would say that the only reason I have not completely lost my mind is because of work. I am so lucky to have a job where things haven’t really changed all that much. Hope-Beckham has been working remotely since mid-March, and we have no plans to go back to the office any time soon. However, our new business model hasn’t stopped us from being the great publicists we are. Instead of in-person meetings, we now meet our clients over Zoom. Instead of planning for events, we’ve been helping with crisis communication plans. Instead of pitching the media about new products our clients are launching, we’re pitching the media about what our clients are doing to help fight this invisible nemesis we all share. We’re making changes to ensure our indefinite work from home model does not affect our client work.
When people ask me what negatives Hope-Beckham has seen because of COVID-19, I’d say that we’re pretty lucky since it takes me a minute to think about what the negatives actually are. The current economy and world outlook isn’t a great situation for anyone to be in, but as a company, we’ve been doing just fine. The one major negative is that we no longer see each other every day. We are such a close-knit group that it’s definitely noticeable that there’s nobody sitting next to you to discuss the score of last night’s game or the latest episode of whatever TV show we all binge watched last weekend. However, we still operate on the same 9-5 schedule, though hours and days seem to be a little more flexible as time goes on. We have weekly team meetings via Zoom so we can catch up on what everyone is doing client-wise. We still chat with each other just as much if not more than we used to in the office. Quite honestly, being on a routine and giving each other some semblance of normalcy makes for a much less isolating life.
It’s an interesting world we live in right now. Everyone is practicing safe social distancing, sheltering in place and adjusting to the “new normal.” I don’t know a single person who doesn’t understand the importance of flattening the curve. As scary as the world is right now, I’ve been forced to slow down and truly appreciate everything I have – including the world’s