Recently, several colleagues and I attended a national assisted living conference in Washington, DC. It was the first in-person meeting of such size (approximately 2,000 people) that any of us had attended in 2 years, due to the gathering restrictions caused by the COVID pandemic. All attendees had to show proof of full vaccination status to register for the conference, and we were all required to wear masks while attending indoor functions.
I heard the same comments from many people that attended. They shared that in past years, while national conference attendance can be energizing, the mundane components of air and taxi travel, waiting in registration lines, sitting in less than exciting educational sessions and enduring several cocktail reception/mixers can make the week draining, both physically and mentally. However, this year, with everyone suffering from 18+ months of various degrees of isolation, everyone was commenting that even the more tedious parts of conference attendance was seen as a positive connecting experience.
And why did they all have a different perspective on what once had been the dreaded parts of attending a business conference? Because it included interacting with and engaging with real live human beings! We all have been severely isolated over the past 18 months and had various experiences trying to stay connected with business associates, friends, and family via different virtual mediums on flat screen devices. However, we were not designed to be seen as two-dimensional figures on a flat screen. We were created as dynamic human beings, complete with our own individual personalities, which are best enjoyed in person.
I hope your opportunities to truly engage with loved ones and others are growing every week, and hopefully, we will never feel that our daily human connections are mundane, no matter how routine they may become, or ever take them for granted in the future.