A Year In

I haven’t posted about this in a while but thought it would be good to do a sanity check.  It’s been a year since the pandemic hit and we were all sent home.  Looking back over the last year, it’s been a long and windy road.  In some respects, it feels like last Easter was ten years ago.  In other perspectives, it feels like it was only yesterday.  I’m not sure how to quantify that, but I think you know what I mean.

Looking back, the worst part of the whole mess was the first few months at home.  From a professional experience, it was sort of fun working from home…it was something new for my colleagues and me, as our office culture is very in-person.  Teams was sort of fun, and there was a general camaraderie amongst the troops that we were all learning the ‘new normal’ (such a stupid term) together.  However, EVERYTHING was closed.  And there wasn’t a lot of data about the virus, so no one really knew what to do.  Remember last spring when it was hard to shop for groceries?  When the roads were essentially empty? And don’t forget, they canceled all sports too.  There was no NCAA Tournament, no Masters, no MLB.

As the Spring and Summer wore on, the data started to come together, and signs of life started to show.  We got some golf.  We got a shortened MLB season.  Eventually, we would get college and NFL football, albeit all with no fans in attendance.  We had our bubble of friends in the neighborhood and family that would see each other, mostly outside in the cul-de-sac, but it was a needed relief, not only for our boys, but for Mrs. RCS and me as well.  Looking back, we were extremely safe, and didn’t see any issues with the virus.  That isn’t lost on me – I’m very grateful.

We were able to get a couple of trips to 30A – one with our neighbors and kids, and the other with some dear friends from New Orleans.  We stayed in Watersound both times and REALLY enjoyed it.  Lots of masks and social distancing, but we had a great time.

Work was good through the Fall, but as I’ve mentioned here before, everything really started to drag in the Winter.  Not because of the load, but because of the shortened days.  I underestimated how much of an impact that had on my psyche.  I’d drop the boys off at school, and be at my desk by about 7:30, right as the sun was coming up.  I’d shut down around 5-5:30, just as the sun was going down.  It’s as if I didn’t see daylight during the week.  I feel like I had to get creative to stay motivated, and honestly, it was pretty difficult.  My energy levels were low.  It really makes me concerned about the mental health impacts.

In addition, I visited my dermatologist for the first time in January, and she found two spots on my back that tested positive for melanoma.  I went through some pretty serious surgery to have both spots removed.  I’m happy to report that the surgeries were successful and I’m all clear, but this also contributed to my bummed out Winter.  Side-note: I’m working on a post about the melanoma experience.  More to come.

As Spring arrived, the days got longer, the temps started to rise, and so have my hopes for a return to a more normal life.  We’re seeing pretty much everything open here in the Atlanta area, and what’s more important: a move to more human interaction.  The Braves are going to allow a limited number of fans in the stands, and adjust monthly.  Pretty much every restaurant is now open for dining, and the Zoo, Aquarium, and Fernbank are all cooking with gas.  The pools will start to open in the next few weeks, which will make the weekends a TON of fun with the boys.  I’m taking delivery of my new Weber grill this weekend, and I can’t wait to make cheeseburgers on Saturday evening with the boys.  I’m planning on getting to the lake as much as possible to get on those spawning largemouth bass.  I gave them the year off last year…but I’m back with a vengeance.

Mrs. RCS and I have been busy planning vacations and getaways.  We’re heading to The Pearl in late-April for a loooong kid-free weekend with some dear friends, and we’re scheduled to head to Watersound the week of the 4th of July with ALL of Mrs. RCS’s family.  We’ll make it down to St. Simons/Sea Island at some point, we just have to nail down a date.  On the hunting front, my crew and I are heading to Kansas to hunt pheasant in December, and Mrs. RCS and I have a quail hunt lined up at Wynfield Plantation later in the Fall.  I’m sure more will be scheduled, but it’s really nice to have things to look forward to.

No word on going back to the office.  My sense is that there is no hurry, so I’m planning on being here at home for the long haul.  That said, our youngest is a couple of months away from moving in with his big brother, which will allow me to create an office of my own.  I’m squatting in a guest bedroom right now, and it’s pretty miserable.  I’m already collecting some fantastic art for my new space, and we’re starting to look at furniture.  I’ll document the process for all of you, and some of you have asked about it.

So how are all of you doing?  I’ve really made an effort this year to make Red Clay Soul more interactive, and I so appreciate that all of you – the readers, the brands, and all the new readers – have jumped in with both feet.  I love all of your feedback, your comments, and our conversations.  It’s really kept me going.  You folks are good people, and I hope all of you are doing well.

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9 Comments

  1. skinnier fat elvis
    03/25/2021 / 12:38 PM

    keep on posting. it keeps us from going completely bonkers as we navigate WFH. golf has been my other WFH outlet. social distant rounds a-plen-tay keep things on an even keel. one surprise… walking is so much better than using a cart.

    thanks for this blog. thanks for the wide variety of posts. keep it up. looking forward to some masters posts soon.

  2. ABW
    03/25/2021 / 12:40 PM

    Good post. Similar feelings for me. Surprised you let the bass off the hook last year, I fished more than I ever had haha. I’m a teacher and was kinda hesitant about our school opening back up in August. I have to say, 1 day back I was so glad I was back. I immediately knew I was so much happier at my actual job. You may have no control over the situation but if you do, I’d really push to get back up there! It helps a lot in my opinion.

  3. Brad Wesley
    03/25/2021 / 12:43 PM

    Thank you for the inspiration to keep getting dressed during WFH. It ended up being a big help in the doldrums of COVID. It’s been quite year but finally some light at the end of the tunnel. Get my first vaccine soon and have tickets for the Indycar season opener in Birmingham next month. Can’t wait to really crank things up over the summer

  4. MJS
    03/25/2021 / 1:03 PM

    I really appreciate the content you put together. Thoughtful, original and all with a positive outlook.

  5. TST
    03/25/2021 / 1:04 PM

    Excellent words that really resonate with a lot of us. Its amazing what the nice Spring weather will do to a guy. We are 1.5 weeks away from our first family trip to 30A and am really looking forward to stepping on an airplane again. Thanks again for this post!

  6. JDL
    03/25/2021 / 1:35 PM

    These past 365 days have been surely weird. It all started with no one really taking the virus seriously as it was kind of a meme about something going on in China. Then I went home for my junior year college spring break (was saving up to have a ripper of a senior year spring break) and never went back. I go to school out of state so I had flown home, so once spring break was extended (everyone was stoked, #coronacation was all over instagram), then extended again, then extended indefinitely I had to go fly back to drive my car back home as it was racking up $$ in the airport pay lot. I don’t think I will ever have the experience of being the only person on a commercial flight ever again.

    My professors had very little time to adjust to going 100% virtual so classes for the second half of that spring 2019 semester were utter chaos. Not much actual educating went on from April-late May.

    Summer came and it was just an odd feeling knowing I didn’t really “earn” the time off from school as exams weren’t even close to what I had experienced in my freshman and sophomore years. I remember being beyond anxious for a few weeks as one by one friends had their hard earned internships and summer arrangements taken away from them. Luckily I never got the call and I moved to my city where I completed my internship. Due to their state mandates, I had to quarantine for 14 days. Luckily I had one of the other interns there quarantining with me as we weren’t allowed to really leave our dorm throughout that entire period. We had to get rid of the clock in the common area because we looked at it too often. Being “released” after that period and being able to work was such a weird feeling.

    As time went on things got a little better (restaurants opening for carryout being the best thing) and life went on.

    Flashback to this fall for my senior year of college, where the university campaigned that there would be in person classes and gave me the option to register for in person classes that were magically changed overnight to fully online. Not only did the classes change without notice, but tuition actually went up. Crazy. All greek life/student org stuff was cancelled and pretty much anything I/my peers considered fun was forbidden and looked out for with a watchful eye by university staff. Things have changed for the better slightly as I write this on March 25 2021, but the whole feeling of being condemned and feeling bad for wanting to do the things that kids do has been a tough one to kick.

    Luckily, this semester I have 1 in-person class (I took this for granted as doing group projects over zoom/text message SUCKS) and graduation is slated to be in person. Sadly, the spring break that I was saving up for with all my friends got cancelled and instead the university just picked some random days to not hold class. Kind of sucks since most days they chose were Fridays in which many students (myself included) didn’t have class anyways.

    Overall, yeah having the last 3 semesters of college kind of ruined sucks, but I am grateful to have my health and family a ok after this ripper of a year. To the next 365!

  7. whiskeydent
    03/25/2021 / 3:28 PM

    Regarding the energy thing, I’ve gotten in the habit of going outside every few hours and getting in the sunlight for a couple of minutes. I even did it when the temps dipped waaaaaaaaaay down here in Austin. It helped me get through my own surgery, a quadruple bypass and valve replacement. So I suggest you give it a try, though you might put on a hat before catching some rays.

  8. bonefishflat
    03/25/2021 / 9:45 PM

    Really great post. You summed up my feelings and a lot of others. Thanks for writing this and keep up the great work…and go Nat’s!!! 😂

  9. CCE
    03/27/2021 / 8:39 AM

    2020 was a bitch. I’m in medical device sales, and I lost about 35% of my income due to hospitals shutting down/cancelling elective procedures. As a result, I had to cancel our annual beach vacation and postpone my wife’s dream kitchen renovation we had been saving for. My wife went back to work part-time, which of course was helpful but made me feel like a terrible husband/provider . There were some dark days in the summer when I didn’t know what to do. It could’ve been a lot worse, and thankfully business is back. We are thankful to be healthy.

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