Dear Friends,

We hosted our first in-person event on June 6 at the Outrigger Canoe Club in Honolulu.  It was a smaller gathering, in part because there is continuing anxiety and fear of COVID infections. Despite a smaller group (or perhaps because of it), the conversation around the table was animated and deeply engaged. The photo is of the group minus two who came later.

Among the topics we discussed is how COVID has impacted our lives – for good or ill. It turns out that it’s been a mixed bag. Yes, the lockdowns hurt, especially with respect to the loss of connections with family and friends as in-person meetings became more fraught with anxiety. We agreed that virtual meetings, while better than nothing, have its limits; nothing beats the warmth and emotional connection that comes from meeting face-to-face.

At the same time, COVID presented interesting opportunities to explore new hobbies or re-engage in old ones, from taking longer hikes to learning a new craft. Still others found it an interesting time to leave current jobs/interests and start new ones. It’s no surprise to me that the “Great Resignation” occurred not just among younger people, but older ones, too, as we thought more deeply about our lives, and what of our everyday tasks truly create meaning and purpose. For the introverts in the group, COVID provided great permission to be more meaningfully engaged in solitary passions, like reading.

The physicians in the group noted that there will be other pandemics in our lifetime, and it’s good to reflect on what worked/didn’t work as we coped with COVID. It could inform our behavior and attitude when the next one comes.

Finally, I’ve received enough feedback from colleagues in California that we will postpone our planned meetings this summer in Oakland and San Diego. We will assess the state of COVID safety in the fall, and if things are looking better, we will plan in-person meetings.  Until then, I send you my best wishes for a healthy summer!