When it’s my turn to write an editorial column, I often reflect back on what I wrote in past issues. I came across one from September 2020 titled “Virtually Yours,” written in the year when so many aspects of our lives changed. Here’s an excerpt from that column:
I’m probably one of the rare few who actually enjoys office life. I miss seeing my coworkers in person, not to mention all the eyewear previews, appointments and photo shoots that were a regular part of my pre-COVID work life. And of course, not being able to travel to trade shows and look at new products, meet new people and catch up with industry friends has been tough for all of us. Eyewear is “touchy feely”—not being able to see it in real life, touch its texture and of course, try it on is something we all miss.
Hard to believe it’s been nearly three years since that challenging time, and while the 20/20 edit team found ways to stay connected with our readers via virtual means, we are thrilled to be able to get back to doing things in person again, whether it’s photo shoots, attending press previews, events and trade shows, and of course, touching eyewear again. I also enjoy working back at our office on certain days; I love the flexibility of working remotely as much as the rest of the world does but on the days where I go into the office, it’s a welcomed change of scenery and a nostalgic reminder of the “old days,” not to mention it’s also a good excuse to wear an outfit other than my sweatsuits.
The last line of that column ended with: “For now, I’ll see you all virtually until we meet again in person.” While I’m truly grateful I was able to see everyone virtually during that time, the best part of the return to normal for me is connecting with my industry colleagues again in real life. I recently was able to do this at The Vision Council Executive Summit in Austin, their first in-person meeting since the pandemic began. I attended the virtual summit in 2021, but this was my first time in person. EIC James Spina and fellow colleagues have always told me how much they enjoyed being there, and how it’s an excellent opportunity for industry leaders to come together for a few days of networking and engaging presentations while staying updated on the state of our industry. I experienced all of this firsthand and shared the camaraderie and interactions that a virtual meeting could never truly replicate. I left Austin energized by the conversations I had with my colleagues, many of them who I also call friends, and formed new connections that I look forward to exploring. I think it’s only appropriate that I end this column with simply “Until we meet again.” And thankfully, it won’t just be virtually.