I’m sure many of you, like me, are watching social media reminders of where we were a year ago a bit differently this time around.
I had my bike trip to Florida photos just celebrate their first year on the internet at the end of January. I remembered wondering about the new coronavirus on our way to Florida. By the time we were driving home, we were worried about cruise ships and didn’t stop much en route.
When we arrived home we continued tracking the progression of the (not yet called that) pandemic and by March we were nervously anticipating its arrival in Ontario. Thanks to a family newshound/data analyst/disaster watcher (hi Jeff!) we’d all been paying close attention. It felt like watching a train wreck, but a train wreck you knew that was going to eventually involve you, in very slow motion.
By early March I knew we’d all be working from home soon. I had instructed the College to set up staff with laptops and we were ready to move operations to where they’d be for the next year or so, though at the time I had no idea it would be that long.
On March 5th I was scheduled to give a talk for an International Women’s Day breakfast event sponsored by the Zonta Club. My mother had a ticket to come with me. I was nervous about sitting too close to people (a first!) and anxious about shaking hands. I had just cancelled travel plans to Calgary for the following week and emailed conference organizers for an event in Montreal that same week to let them know I wouldn’t be attending.
My last few university admin meetings had involved elbow bumps and so I tried it out with the women at our table at the Zonta Club event. One of them said, “I didn’t know you were a medical doctor.” She explained that the only non-handshakers she knew were MDs. I ventured that maybe we wouldn’t be shaking hands for awhile but she seemed skeptical.
It was a fun talk. I talked about the fittest by 50 challenge, the blog, our book (Fit at Mid-Life: A Feminist Fitness Journey) how the blog changed and expanded over the years, the surprise we first felt when we realized how many people were drawn to our story, the barriers women experience when getting started in physical activity, and about the ways in which we want to expand the conversation about inclusion.
Great time but I had no idea it was the last time I’d be speaking in public for at least a year. Wow. I’ve taken an excellent class with Shari Graydon–her Master Class in Presentation Skills–during the pandemic but I wonder when I’ll get to put those skills to use. The next talk I’m planning to give is in Melbourne, in July. But I’m expecting it will be on Zoom. Sigh. I have high hopes though for the American Philosophical Assocation, in Montreal, January 2021. Papers are due by February 15, 2020. See you there!