To quote Bob Dylan, the times, 'they are a-changin’, and in COVID-19, everything seems like it has changed. Everyone has shifted to working from home, routines have shifted, and you suddenly realize that the reprieve you once had from your kids while they were in school has disappeared…violently. You suddenly get to spend more quality time with your family (forcibly), develop a closer relationship with your caffeine source of choice (you say closer, I say dependent), and scrub down your house like your mom is coming for a visit (that might just be me). All humor aside, when looking at the overall picture, I have learned that a purposeful shift in perspective has created gratitude in my heart for all the positives in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things that I miss in self-isolation. I miss the days of using a WFH day as a Work from Coffee Shop day where the coffee was plentiful, and the focus was found like nowhere else. I miss the random interruptions of friends/co-workers coming up to my desk to have a quick chat, or the random and spontaneous lunches that combine work with life conversations. And on a personal level, I miss taking my kid to the park, going to Starbucks, or just the general feeling of ease when going into a store.
However, in the shuffles of changing routines and new safety measures, I have personally found solace in other ways. I cannot go and visit my parents for fear of inadvertent contamination but teaching my mom how to Facetime gives me new opportunities to keep them integrated in their grandson’s life, even if it is through a screen. It also provides plenty of jokes at my mom’s expense for her lack of tech knowledge, including not realizing her iPad has a built-in flashlight, the ability to flip the camera around or that other apps are accessible while on Facetime (and before you judge me for blatantly making fun of my mother, my dad and I are both techies…she has no excuse!). My son is high-risk, which prevents us from venturing to the park, but I have created a thriving flower and herb garden on my balcony a la New York style. At the age of two, kiddo’s curiosity is exploding with why Mommy has issues with our pulling every single flower off of the plant, why bees shouldn’t be touched even though they hover like they’re begging for it, or what happens when we dump dirt over our heads like it’s a fluid instead of a solid (I’ll give you one word…bath-time!). I’ve also taken a page out of kiddo’s book and reignited my love for building LEGO sets. Currently, I am recreating the entire Harry Potter universe in my own living room out of LEGOs.
During my entire time with ICP, I have built relationships with my clients through the interface of a computer, specific to the fact that every member of any client team I have worked with lives in a different area of the globe. While that venue has not changed, the depth of my client relationships has changed. I have been introduced to kids/spouses/pets, commented on the rad art hanging on the walls behind them, and traded tips on how to get our kids to leave us alone. On an internal level and as an extroverted-introvert/single mom (which sometimes means the same thing), COVID-19 has put me in co-workers’ homes and lives in a way I would never experience outside of Shelter-In-Place orders. I have gotten to know their families, drooled over their libraries, discovered surprising depths of quirky humor, and experienced a massive growth of respect for the amazing capabilities and strength that make ICP’ers the powerhouses they are.
For every negative I could name due to COVID-19, I can name two positives. For me, it all comes down to my choice of perspective. I could choose to lose my mind (and that is still on the table as a distinct possibility), or I could take a page out of my dad’s book and look at COVID-19 as a time of opportunity. I personally have chosen the latter, which has resulted in deeper relationships inside and out of ICP, higher levels of appreciation for the blessings in my life, and time to focus on creative passions I have not been able to spare previously. Yes, the times, 'they are a-changin’, and I’m changing with them.
Stefani Sarabia, Senior Brand Asset Manager
Stefani is celebrating her two year anniversary with ICP in June this year. She spends most of her spare time chasing her toddler as he explores the universe, drinking coffee and following the Mad Hatter down rabbit holes in search of a new favorite author.