It’s been one year since I first realized that life was changing.

This blog is mostly me writing for me; looking back at a timeline of what happened. But I am going to make one big assertion. The pandemic has been (in many ways) the best year of my life AND one of the most difficult. It has crossed my path with amazing people, presented incredible opportunities, strengthened my faith and taught me many lessons.

See below for the timeline.

Skip to the end for the lessons.

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March 11th, 2020: the WHO declares COVID a pandemic

March 16th, 2020: the weight of the situation sets in (should I be here)

March 29th, 2020: Michaela and I realize that our wedding won’t happen as planned (the first draft)

April 5th, 2020: Michaela and I make the hard decision to postpone the wedding (wedding postponed)

May 2nd, 2020: Michaela and I get married with a small gathering and it’s perfect (his plan, not ours)

May 6th, 2020: Michaela’s appendix bursts and we spend our fourth married night apart (honeymoon hospital stay)

May 20th, 2020: I turn 26 and feel grateful to be where I am (lessons from 25)

May 31st, 2020: riots break out in Philadelphia and it opens my eyes (I don’t understand, but…)

August 29th, 2020: I reflect on my work situation in the midst of a pandemic (scrubbing toilets…)

October 17th, 2020: I start The Pursuit Podcast with my friend, Sam Tooley (time to plant seeds)

November 14th, 2020: I reflect on becoming part of the Bare Performance Nutrition team (go one more)

December 16th, 2020: I feel pulled to pour effort into the newsletter that I started (on the hook)

January 1st, 2021: I feel grateful for the past year and write about it in a blog (three things for 2021)

January 3rd, 2021: I decide to commit to the process of writing a book (bringing out the best)

January 10th, 2021: Michaela and I spend fourteen days apart in our apartment when she is sick (600 sq. ft quarantine)

February 14th, 2021: I complete an awesome egg flip without making a mess (flipping failure)

March 7th, 2021: I continue to wake up at a ridiculous hour and tell people why (waking up at 4 am)

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For those of you who actually read until this point, here’s the message. The pandemic has thrown us all for a loop and there are objectively hard things that happened to me. However, it’s been an amazing space for me to reflect, take action and practice hard things during hard times. I’m grateful for what the pandemic has brought me, if nothing other than the chance to repeatedly practice perspective. Life is always going to be hard, and when the pandemic is past us, it’s still going to be hard, just in a different way. Instead of waiting for things to resolve themselves, take ownership and take action. This is a chance to choose to live in the present, to make the most of what you have, to control what you can control, to surrender what you can’t, to find the good in all things, to give your best effort and to embrace the process.

“Songs are as sad as the listener.”

Jonathan Safran Foer

Don’t let these opportunities pass.

Joe Rinaldi, PT, DPT

IG: @joerinaldi.dpt

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