Despite the big dumps of snow over the last fortnight, Spring 2021 is just a few weeks away. Ah, the melting snowbanks, big puddles, a forever dirty car exterior, and discovering frozen dog turds on the front lawn that were never picked up by their owners, it awaits us all.
Despite my pessimism (see last month’s column) at the sloth-like speed at which mass vaccination efforts are progressing, I want to be proven wrong by an amazing public health campaign and turnaround as so there is so much to plan and make reality in 2021. And I’ve made a bucket list to pass the time and keep my mind focused on positive things and sunnier days.
Item number one is to reconnect with about 150 friends over coffee, lunch or wine before 2022 arrives. So, the sooner the sun comes out the better. No doubt local restauranteurs have ambitious plans to resurrect outdoor patio tents and heat lamps as soon as possible and yours truly will there with an appetite friends in tow. Dining safely with constant fresh air flow will be great and I will not have to say, “you’re on mute”.
As I was writing this column, bucket list item number two was taking shape across four different Chrome tabs, two airline sites, one budgeting spreadsheet, and with a cruise line chatbot. If you search pent-up demand for travel, you will find my picture.
A European cruise, an all-inclusive down south, Airbnb stays and local overnight jaunts around eastern Ontario, upstate New York and into Québec are all being planned for Labour Day onward and well into 2022. Not all of these will occur as the pandemic evolves (and lingers on) and my fantasy budget gets introduced to the raw – and rude – reality of my modest bank balance, but hey, a fella can dream.
Bucket list item number three is putting my new level of fitness to the test. Since the beginning of the year the diet has changed, workouts have been more structured and frequent, and the pounds are shedding. I used to love running and competed in 10kms, about 20 half-marathons and even ran in the Ottawa and Portland (Oregon) marathons. Virtual races or even in-person events stateside in Q4 are being put in the calendar to coincide with my travel plans.
During our various lockdowns (one more likely to come, sigh), many of us have discovered interesting paths and trails as we escaped the daily drudgery of Teams or Zoom calls and binge-watching Netflix. These will become my new haunts for workouts, and I should be on them four or five days a week given the number of coffees, lunches and wines that will occur as I check off item number one above.
Turning to the penultimate item on my bucket list, it is power reading dozens of books. Despite my best efforts, Walter’s reading pile is once again out of control and growing faster than Ottawa’s official flower, the dandelion. Stretches of somber hours are being scheduled beside the fireplace and will move outside, weather cooperating (pppllleeeaaaassseee!) to the front porch and back patio. Silent journeys into some great autobiographies, mind blowing and galaxy spanning sci-fi series, and the latest thinking around leadership and strategy are calling me.
Finally, living life to its fullest and turning my 2021 bucket list into reality involves item number five: getting vaccinated.
If you are under 60, it is almost guaranteed that you will receive a single dose AstraZeneca or the Johnson & Joahnson jab in the arm at some point this summer or later this fall. As soon as it is my turn, I will go on-line and book an appointment and I encourage you to do the same. Mass vaccination will accelerate our path out of this pandemic.
However, vaccine hesitancy (not the anti-vaxxer, homeopathic disciples or conspiracy nutbars), but genuine concern over the speed at which these products have been developed, proper regulatory oversight, and their potential side effect profiles is perfectly normal.
If you have concerns, talk to your healthcare provider, do research on valid scientific sites (not cut and paste Facebook posts or what Uncle Bob sent you from a guy he allegedly knows who was fired/censored/or has “secret” pharma/government cabal meeting minutes) and as time goes by, seek out people who have been vaccinated and ask them how they are doing … and living!
In the meantime, make your own bucket list; it is fun and can help put a pep in your step, and a swagger as you walk. Be well. #CaVaBienAller.