Missing Mackinac During Memorial Week: Some Perspective

Memorial Day is one of the days of this year that was planned, almost to the hour, many months ago.

I was going to wake up early, for a holiday, drive about four hours to Mackinaw City, Michigan, enjoy whitefish for lunch at the Keyhole bar, then get on a ferry for Mackinac Island, check into the hotel, either go for a walk along the water (if the weather is nice) or read a book while looking out at Lake Huron (if not), before dinner with my client. It was a day to look forward to for months, as the calm before the storm that is my favorite work event of the year, the Mackinac Policy Conference. This was going to be the 20th straight year I would spend “Memorial Week” there, after spending most of the hours of the months of April and May getting clients ready for the event. Professionally and personally, it’s a work week I look forward to and prepare for, nearly all year long.

Memorial Day didn’t work out as planned. Here I am writing this post instead of driving north on I-75. Needless to say, the months of April and May didn’t work out as planned either.

Every day of late, I realize how lucky I am. My family and I have been healthy throughout what seems like the initial chapter of the coronavirus ordeal. The business I co-own is intact, so I continue to be able to make a living doing what I enjoy. I think daily of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as I appreciate how the basic fundamentals of life are being met.

But can’t we be grateful for what we have and feel bummed about what we’re missing at the same time?

On the surface, especially in the whole scheme of things, something like a conference can seem superfluous. But digging deeper, I think of the personal friendships formed there over the years, the business relationships strengthened there annually and the thrill of the privilege of working behind-the-scenes on a top-tier media relations operation. There’s a void.

But recognizing this hole in the calendar and in the mind actually reveals another stroke of luck. What if we’re lucky enough to have enjoyed an experience so much for so long that when we don’t get it have it, we actually miss it? Especially something work-related? Yes, that’s pretty damn lucky.