It’s been easy to feel frustrated with the pandemic, the growing political divide, the constant stream of less than optimistic news and the uncertainty about what lies ahead (and yes, the complete lack of professional sports).

First it was the masks (and maybe it still is?). We’ve all heard it out and about, “wearing these things really sucks.” I heard it the other day on the golf course from the group in front of us. It was frustrating.

Then it started frustrating me to see the way people have been treating each other over disagreements and hot takes. It’s pushed me as close as ever to terminating my fragile pact with social media.

It still frustrates me to feel like an entire 18-month period of all our lives is going to fly by all of us, while we sit here waiting for the pandemic to end. Maybe the hardest part is the feeling that we are helpless to influence what’s happening around us.

When the whole world seemed to go to shit, Darcy and I cocooned in Hanover. I went about 6 months without seeing my family. It was a surreal stretch. Before Trikafta, the thought of being away from my family – my first responders – for that period of time seemed unimaginable. Then the world flipped. Staying away from New York while the virus surged seemed like a survival tactic. That frustrated me. Hell it frustrated all of us.

The virus forced Darcy and I to miss most of my sister’s pregnancy. Darcy and I weren’t able to celebrate our engagement with our friends and family back home (a story I still haven’t told on the blog, but soon Darcy and I can take everyone through that special day!).  Maybe the most devastating thing the virus has taken from us was the ability to mourn the loss of a grandparent alongside my family.

The frustration in the middle of all this has, at times, felt crippling. Why? Because it’s time we can never get back.

But it has also allowed me to cut some of the fat out of my life. Instead, my frustration has forced me to spend my time productively, and that’s certainly worth celebrating. It’s an important, and rewarding, trade off. Perception is really the trick to it. The truth is that is that small losses should feel annoying and frustrating – like a few days ago when it dawned upon me that several project deadlines were staring at me down the barrel – but most can be brushed off. After all, I did it to myself. Instead of seeing those deadlines as an impending doom, it should feel good to get things done, and it has (it also means I will get to blog more frequently).

In crisis there is often opportunity. My productivity has been higher than ever before. Maybe it is because I have more time in my day now than ever before. Is that thanks to the virtual world? My treatment burden hardly feels like a burden. I have become a morning person through all of this. Waking up with the sun adds precious time in my day and allows me to do more than ever before.

The most remarkable change I have seen throughout all of this is the number of people I see outside. People are out walking, running, and hiking in numbers I can’t ever remember seeing.

I seek social fulfillment through playing on Xbox Live with my gamer friends, I have been playing socially distant golf with friends and my dad – a sport I have long loathed, but am actually starting to enjoy because I get to be outside – and the best thing is that I have gotten to spend the last month with my family. I feel like we’ve grown up in the middle of all this. We have learned to adapt to some of the lasting changes this virus will leave us with.

Darcy and I head back to Hanover this week. It will be a time for us to restart our routine, restart our independence, and a time to look forward the next school year. Knowing it will not be the exact same as last year is, of course, disappointing, but why should we shy away from making new memories? Frankly, I look forward to making the kind of memoires in ways that I would have never imagined possible. We will have to learn how to manage new challenges together in ways that I hope continue to strengthen our relationship!

My frustration with the world isn’t going to go away any time soon. We’re all living through hard times, and I know frustration is part of it. It’s okay to feel down, but I urge everyone to manage frustration in a way that will help us become better people after this ends. I look toward the day when we climb out of this pandemic, this indefinite pause into a world where we can look back on how this time shaped us for the better.