6 days ago on my birthday, I was having dinner with a few friends who simply wanted to catch up before a possible 2nd NYC lockdown; none of them knowing that it was my birthday at the time. I was okay with that; I guess as you get older — especially during a worldwide pandemic — you don’t need to be reminded anymore that everyday should be a celebration of life and we should just be grateful for the company.
That’s when I got the late night dinner-interrupting phone call from the NYC Marathon Medical Director asking I could at the last minute organize a ragtag crack squad of medical volunteers for a never-done-before pandemic-proofed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day (Virtual) Parade by the next day. I said yes without hesitating.
Within hours, the 45 of us — whether from the annual NYC marathon or via a random DM on Instagram — rallied together as strangers and colleagues for a common purpose. As if the universe was dancing to the familiar tune of irony, it felt like the past 5 days have become that delayed birthday celebration I was supposed to have all along.
And with this experience already becoming another memory, I’m grateful for another birthday I’ll never forget, as if I have been celebrating the past 5 days with so many wonderful souls that make this city what it is, who remind me what’s worth living for in a year like 2020. So on a day like Thanksgiving, in a year like no other, all I can say is: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Without you, this could never have been.
New Year’s Eve
To my badass NYE medical team:
It’s become nearly cliché these days to pen one more diatribe against 2020, especially on the Eve of a New Year. But allow me to express bittersweetness when tearing myself over how this will be the only time we’ll ever work something like this again, let alone if these state of affairs weren’t as dreadful the many of us would never have even met in the first place. The sweet is never as sweet without the sour.
I’d still much prefer that we didn’t have to suffer during these uncertain times, whether it’s secondary to a pandemic or toxic individualism. However if we must play the hand we’re dealt, then alas let me at least affirm the profound privilege I’ve derived from this year to have gotten to know and worked with all of you.
Many of us met less than a month ago, whether by referrals or a message on social media. And yet without so much as a first name and first impression, we rallied as strangers at the last minute to become haphazardly assembled ragtag crack squad without any blueprints from years past. We flew by the seat of our pants when somehow asked to be *the* medical screening for both the NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade and the NYE Ball Drop in Times Square while the world watched amidst a worldwide public health crisis. You took on new roles and skills without a moment’s notice. Y’all were flexible, adaptable, and did this all with a smile, whether it was 4:30am in the morning or if the donuts slowed us down. And all this within 4 weeks: We pulled it off, twice.
Therefore, thank you all for being my resolve to stay in this fight, and thank you for helping demonstrate to this damaged world there remains good people out there who are willing to shoulder a horrible year through to the end. Although I again wish that we all could have worked together under better circumstances (annual NYC Marathon anyone?), I nonetheless will be eternally grateful how our trajectories collided. If our last week together is how 2020 wants to bid us farewell with, then I’m already blessed for that much. Better us than never.
Looking forward to better times. Stay in touch. We’ll work together again someday.
- At time of posting in NYC, it was 13 °C - Humidity: 73% | Wind Speed: 8km/hr | Cloud Cover: clear