Don’t get me wrong. This global pandemic has sucked—big time. So many have lost loved ones to this disease. Others have lost jobs (myself included). People are in danger of losing their homes. Lines are miles long for food banks. Even if you remained employed or secure in your housing, stress and anxiety are through the roof. That said, I woke up this morning and realized that there is one – and only one – thing that I’m grateful to COVID for.

I woke up to a Facebook memory of a post from three years ago:

And that’s exactly the figurative slap in the face I needed to realize I’m grateful for one – and only one – thing. I’m grateful for the rude awakening I needed never to forget to appreciate my ability to travel.

Travel Isn’t a Right. It’s a Privilege.

Just about a year ago, when it felt as if the whole world was coming to a screeching halt, I had forgotten how lucky I was to be able to travel. Let alone, in the manner I had become accustomed to. That’s one of the downsides of doing something too much. It becomes routine. And with that routine brings about some bad habits.

Rather than appreciating that I was able to go on another trip, explore new places, meet new people…I’d be more focused on when my flight upgrade would clear. So much so that 24 hours out from departured I’d find myself getting lost in refreshing my United app instead of enjoying the company of people I’d traveled to spend time with.

I was the first to complain about how difficult it was to redeem Marriott Suite Night certificates. Totally forgetting that the fact that simply booking a stay at the W Hotel Bali would be something others could only dream of.

I’d think I helped people by telling them how they didn’t maximize how many points they could have earned. Or how many miles they could have saved by booking differently. But in reality, I was taking joy away from their excitement of looking forward to their next trip.

Lessons Learned

I don’t know when I’ll fly again. When that next work trip will happen, or even when I’ll take another vacation. And, for the first time in a year, I’m ok with that. I’ve stopped worrying about those United PlusPoints in my account expiring. I’m no longer obsessing over keeping top tier status with hotels, just to get access to a lounge or a suite. Pre-COVID, I’d scoff at the idea of flying long haul in coach. But, not anymore.

Sure, I’ll still be hustling and earning points and miles anyway I can. And, when possible I hope to be using that knowledge to stretch out in a business class seat or enjoy a first class airport lounge. Either way, even if I’m “turning right” the next time I board a plane, I’ll be grateful just to be able to fly somewhere. And for that, I say thank you COVID…and “Bye, Felicia”.

The post The One & Only Thing I’m Grateful to COVID For was first published on Coworkaholic.

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