“On or about December 1910 human character changed,” Virginia Woolf once wrote.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed us as well. Behind the bold red cover of this issue lies a beating heart, yearning for self-care. I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve had in which someone in the professional class unapologetically asserts their right to take care of themselves—physically, mentally, emotionally. Enough, people are saying. If not now, when?
Several of the subjects in these pages implore us to make the kinds of investments in ourselves that we’ve traditionally made in our careers. Manning Sumner, the CEO of Legacy gyms who leads our Engage section, exhorts us not to take any days off—but he doesn’t mean it in the way you might expect from this entrepreneurial athlete. “It could be taking your child to school, putting your feet in the sand on the beach, or going to the gym,” he explains. “Just make sure you’re becoming rather than just being.” Sumner is talking about being present, not necessarily about being jacked, about growing our spirit as well as our muscles.
Our feature story, “Popping Up All Over,” which examines the workation trend, epitomizes the ways in which we’re restlessly searching for a healthier, more inspiring way of working, and trying to do a better job of crafting blended days of work and play. Seabourn president Josh Leibowitz recalls how he once subscribed to a strict separation between vacation time and work time. “My thinking on this has changed,” he says now. He recognizes the salubrious benefits of customized time, of extending travel and changing the scene while you’re devoting the required time for work; it was the luxury cruise line’s guests who helped him see that.
Even a corporate honcho like Seth Wise (in our Agenda section), who wears several executive hats and enjoys the fit of every one, has experienced his Woolfian epiphany. “In terms of work-life balance, one of the things that COVID has awoken me to is the value of being home for dinner with my family,” he says. So, I’ve made a concerted effort to try to reduce the commitments I’ve make for dinner and cocktail events so I can be home.”
And hovering over the whole issue is our vivid and edifying cover story, “Healthy Vision,” in which the physician team at Vitruvia discusses innovative therapies tailored to people who want to live pain-free so they can get out and move their bodies in order to embrace a state of becoming that’s as dynamic as the drive that propels their careers. Work will only be enhanced if the self and non-work pursuits are nurtured as well. The pervasive acknowledgement of this truth reflects the change in human character—precipitated by the bracing slap of reality—that the awful pandemic wrought.