The Silver Lining of COVID-19

October 8, 2020
Mr M and Grandson 500x400
Me with my great grandson on September 17th, his 7th birthday and what would have been my father’s 120th birthday! With the pandemic closing schools, this is the first time we were able to celebrate his September birthday together.

We’re entering the final few months of one of the most difficult years in our lifetime.

It’s been devastating to hear about the illness and loss of millions of people around the world.

I’ve watched with sadness as unemployment and food insecurity have risen. And for those lucky enough to be untouched by any of that, there’s still the isolation factor that comes from social distancing – masked up, six feet apart.

2020 has been a tough year for everyone.

As an octogenarian, I’ve learned the value of looking on the bright side of life. The glass will always be half full for me. Over these past few months, I’ve spent my time focused on what I call the silver lining of the pandemic – more time with family.

Throughout the course of my 60-plus year career, I was always working and travelling. In a typical year, I would spend more than 200 nights away from home – visiting hotels around the nation and the world. I loved my work. But I missed the joys of home.

Not anymore. This year, I’ve been able to spend time with all of my 27 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The great grandchildren range in age from three months to 12 years old.

We’ve been living down the road from one another near a lake in New England. We’ve been able to go out on the lake, sip root beer and enjoy movies together. I’ve watched some of them learn to read, swim and swing a tennis racket. We’ve had great conversations and because we’ve been quarantining together, we’ve created our own bubble, so my wife Donna and I get lots of hugs.

These are ordinary childhood activities, for sure. What’s different is, I’m home to see it all. I’m not rushing to the office or the airport. And they are not headed to soccer or dance lessons or even school. In fact, they’re not heading anywhere. With the pandemic, rather than see the grandchildren or great grandchildren for just a week or so this summer, we’ve seen them for the entire summer. As I write this, many of them are still down the street. We’re all home every day and we use the time to talk and listen to one another.

In many respects, this is a priceless time, reminiscent of a bygone era. The world seems to be moving a little bit slower, and I am cherishing it.

Eventually, the pandemic will be over, and we’ll go back to our busy lives. Until then, we must all work to stay safe and healthy.

I encourage you to use this time wisely. Look for your silver lining. Maybe it’s keeping a journal, exercising every day or teaching your child to ride a bike.

Whatever it is, do it with love in your heart. And make it count.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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