So… it is now May 5th, 2021 and I am grateful to have made it through the first COVID19 year – both personally and with my businesses. Halleluiah!

Sadly, many business owners in our industry, and of course all industries, did not survive the year. My heart goes out to all of them, and I pray they find the courage and money to give their dreams another whirl!

Up until a few weeks ago, I was adamant that I wait another year before deciding whether or not to get the vaccine. Why? Simply put, I lacked confidence in our providers, in our “medical system”. I thought if I wait until millions are vaccinated, see how they respond and what changes come forth from this, I might be in a position to forgo getting the vaccine.

Then my neighbor – a life-long editor for the NY Times accustomed to fact-checking – along with my doctor, both asked me to look at the science and stop listening to nay-sayers with conspiracy theories backing their opinions.

On top of these strong, intelligent women approaching me with their positive outlooks on the vaccine, my community reached out to become a business leader and take part in the solution to bringing back our community businesses. Of course, this included accepting to be vaccinated! After giving it some serious analytical consideration, weighing the pros and cons to myself and those surrounding me, I made a decision to go forward and get the vaccine. One and done by J&J, and no problems to date.

I don’t judge anyone who feels the way I did and chooses not to get vaccinated. As far as I see it, it’s still a personal decision which I respect. All I can tell you is that I feel a sense of relief knowing I can move freely – as freely as we are allowed in these days – and travel nationally without the fear of COVID19 overtaking me. International travel is still a hard “maybe” if I have to quarantine for more than three days.

On the business side of things, this first COVID19 year flew by rather quickly for most of us in my company. We became so busy working on new projects for education, monthly webinars, creating new consumer sales, and also becoming officially approved to produce a healthier version of hand sanitizers & disinfectants.

But still, my mind went through some solid moments of feeling overwhelmed. Not being allowed to visit my mom in Canada (only 40 minutes away from where I live on the American side of the border) without a mandatory 2-week quarantine really brought home the sense of having no control. I miss her and vice-versa. She just wants to come over, eat, shop, talk and laugh! You know – the simple pleasures of life! Lucky for me she is a super healthy 87-year-old and I’m hoping for some relaxed regulations at our border crossing into Canada later this year. There is “word” that those who have family, businesses, or property cross-border (and who have been vaccinated) will be allowed to cross!!! So hopeful!

Here in Western NY, things feel like they are on an upswing. I can meet up with the girls for happy hour, go out for dinner, do a little shopping, get my personal care when needed… I’m beginning to genuinely feel like my old self again. Albeit, with a mask on and some social distancing. RESPECT. All good!

Speaking of masks, can someone please tell me why I need to wear a mask to walk three feet into a restaurant then sit down and be allowed to take it off? What protection did that offer and to whom? Don’t get me wrong! I wear my mask and generally don’t complain about it, with the exception that my lipstick gets all fudged. And why am I wearing lipstick you might be asking? Read up above – I get to take my mask off in public places. I wouldn’t be caught dead without lipstick because I look washed out without it! Have you seen some of my “real life” captures of moments during the last year? Lol! One video captured me first thing when I woke up… Needless to say – OMG! My “just woke up” face was too real for some. One friend commented: “Way to keep it real Lina!” Not – “Oh you look so cute!” Nope… ‘Way to keep it real and share your morning fright’, is what I got from that comment! But I laughed my face off!! Then put it on.

I am grateful every day that I wake up to a new day!