By now, I’m sure most of us are sick of hearing about COVID-19. Since March, I feel like a day hasn’t gone by where I haven’t heard the words Coronavirus or COVID-19. While most of my friends and family see COVID-19 as a major setback, my approach has been the opposite. I am actually very thankful for the opportunity this pandemic has given me mentally. I have a new lease on life and have enjoyed experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
If you know me, you know I’m a people person. Being from New York, I’m always on the go, meeting with friends and family. I get bored easy and need stimulation. If a movie is longer than one hour, the chances of me finishing the movie are slim, unless it’s a really good movie. With all the social distancing requirements, I recently rekindled my love for morning strolls and the outdoors. Before my official staycation, I would only take strolls when I was in Manhattan. If I was bored or wanted to meet up with a friend, we usually would meet at the 73rd Street Central Park entrance and stroll through the park talking about life. On other days, I would just put my headphones on and take a cruise in my chair.
Since COVID-19 began, I haven’t been in the city. I’ve been spending all of my time upstate. I rely on my car to get me to local parks or trails. I have been able to explore a bunch of places by myself with basically no one around. This is a huge help because it keeps me from being bored. I also feel comfortable because I’m by myself and if I do see someone while I’m out in nature, they usually just wave and keep their distance. That puts my mind at ease.
Sometimes, on my days off, I wake up at five a.m. and make an egg and cheese sandwich. I wrap it up in foil and make some hot tea in my to-go cup. Then, I drive my van to my dad’s business and eat my breakfast. His office looks over the Hudson River, and in my opinion, he has one of the most beautiful views from his location. He was nice enough to set up a special area for me to sit and have my breakfast so I can sit and eat and enjoy the view. Last week, I was eating my breakfast and saw a bald eagle. It was awesome. It’s nice to bring my camera and take pictures of the boats and the trains that go by. The best part is, I don’t have to wear a mask because no one bothers me. There is something about water that relaxes me and puts my mind at ease.
With all this crazy stuff going on, I cannot take a vacation this year and get away. It’s a shame because I had two planned trips with my friends this summer. So, on those my mornings spent having breakfast, I treat it like a staycation. While I have seen my friends post pictures online of the fun they’re having together, I know that I made the right decision to opt out and not attend trips. And I’m thankful they understand.
I wish more people would broaden their horizons during this time or try and rekindle a long-lost passion. If you ever get bored or feel cooped up in the house, all you have to do is go online or search social media for places to go. You would be shocked at what hidden gems you might find locally right in your back yard.
About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.