Reflecting on 2020: Adapting to the New Normal

Reflecting on 2020: Adapting to the New Normal

As we look ahead to the holidays, we would be remiss not to look back and reflect on 2020.

Who knew how this year would unfold? Certainly not me! That’s why it’s been so difficult to digest the many emotions the year brought and to think about the many challenges that arose. I had so many dreams for this year: there was my daughter’s wedding and the hope and anticipation for an amazing new job. COVID-19 was not on the radar.

But as February faded into March, my, as well as everyone’s world was turned upside down. The months that followed taught me many lessons and reminded me there is very little we can control. However, I learned a tremendous lesson early in life, and that is, we can control how we respond in our behavior, our attitude and perhaps most importantly how we treat people.

When I was a teenager, I learned the hard way there are things in life we cannot control. That was when my father died after a long battle with lung cancer. In his last days he taught me character is built from how we respond to adversity and we should take these dark moments to find a way to grow. He modeled such a positive attitude and helped my family to find the lifelong tools we would need to move forward after his death.

I have relived some of those days as I’ve wrestled with the fallout from the pandemic. How do I deal with the feelings of isolation and being disconnected from family and friends? How do I handle the disappointment when milestone life events are cancelled or changed? What do I say to our children about when the pandemic will end? When will we get back to “normal?” What is “normal” now?

Sadly, our world has been torn apart by both the pandemic and the polarizing approaches to contain it. Many institutions and leaders have disappointed us, but many others have risen out of the chaos and created a new set of heroes. While our “old” world has been turned upside down, a “new” one has emerged, and that gives me hope. It’s the people, the lessons, and the learnings that I am thankful for as I reset expectations and work harder to live in the present.

I’ve realized in all of this, that the famous old saying is true, “when one door closes, another opens.” Yes, in the end, my daughter’s large wedding was cancelled, but a small, intimate family wedding ended up being amazingly magical. And yes, I didn’t expect to be starting a new job during a global pandemic, but I found an awesome opportunity to join LifeSci Communications and have never looked back.

My new work family has given me renewed energy and shown me a whole new area within our industry that builds on my experience. I haven’t felt this invigorated about work in a long time. I am inspired by the talent, passion, and commitment of our team and clients as well as the great work we are doing together. As a new client recently told me he’s never seen an agency like ours, “you’re on a different level.” He’s right, LifeSci is a gem, and I couldn’t be happier to be here.

I’ve never been prouder to be involved in the healthcare industry. This is our moment to shine. I am inspired by our frontline workers who courageously walk into the eye of the storm every day. I’m awed at what can happen when biopharma companies come together to find a solution and encouraged by the many companies focused on improving the lives of patients with rare or difficult to treat diseases. I know science will win this fight and I am hopeful that we will continue to improve outcomes for the millions of people suffering.

I have learned to reset expectations and adapt to the new world. I desperately miss the in-person interactions with colleagues. I struggle to sit at a desk all day, but it’s pushing me to be more creative about what “working together” means. I am focused on what I can control and what I can’t. Each day I make progress, and each day I wake up and decide I AM going to make this day better than the last. And each day I remind myself that we are all struggling and it’s okay. If we keep moving forward and try to be the sunshine in each other’s lives, then we will get through this together and we’ll be stronger. That support will be the fuel to enable us to build a new normal together.

Graphic created by: Autumn Von Plinsky