Cheating on NYC

Feeling grateful but guilty in sunny California

For the majority of Covid, I’ve spent my time in New York City. Of course there was the odd weekend getaway later in the summer (Connecticut, the Poconos, Minnesota or to New Hampshire), but most of the time I was a New Yorker. I always felt a point of pride that I stuck with the city during it’s most challenging year in recent history when so many of my work colleagues bounced in March of 2020 and never returned.

That all changed on January 15th, 2021 when I fled to Palm Desert, California to soak up the sunshine, golf courses, mountains, and blue skies. I’ve experienced this place every year for the last decade. My parents have been renting in this area for some portion of the Winnipeg winter months for over 20 years and I would make it a priority to visit, but because of border restrictions, they stayed home this year.

I’ve always felt like my ‘best self’ here. I get plenty of sleep (for anyone who’s been here you know the saying ‘you only see one 9 o’clock in the desert’), run lots of miles along the perfectly paved paths while staring at the palm trees and floral arrangements, and just generally love the sights and sounds of golf courses everywhere and the slower pace.

This time is no different. I’m fortunate enough to live south of the border where travel to California was still “acceptable”, so Lynn and I flew here from NYC and my good buddy Matt who I hadn’t seen for nearly 18 months flew down from Vancouver. We’re staying in a family friend’s house right on the golf course, only two doors down from where my parents typically rent, and life is grand.

While it probably wasn’t the most responsible to get on a plane given the pandemic, travel was pretty smooth and safe, and since being in California, we’re much safer than living in New York where we need to navigate busy sidewalks and crowded grocery stores.

I’ve so far played 5 rounds of golf, including a surprise round for my birthday at the PGA West Stadium course, just 1 day after the PGA tour completed the Amex Championship on the same track! Luckily, Matt likes golf just as much as I do so we are relishing the fact that we get to play in the middle of January.

Work is starting to heat up, but our hosts have been generous enough to let us stay as long as we want (until March), so we decided to cancel our flights and avoid snow and small apartments for a little longer.

I feel like a bit of a sellout and that I’m getting soft. NYC is still amazing, and I miss aspects of the city, but February is still a long, cold month, and I’m much more content running in shorts and t-shirts at the moment. A bit of the guilt also sneaks in as so many of my friends and family are grinding it out by staying home in -30C temperatures in Winnipeg, yet I’m galivanting around the US, essentially living in paradise at the moment! I realize that I’m fortunate though, and am just going to enjoy this incredible experience while I can rather than spending way too much time inside my mind (I must be maturing at age 35)!

I’m excited to continue building a solid routine here - I’m working east coast hours so starting work around 5am every day has been interesting. I find it difficult when the alarm goes off because it’s so dark, but it’s easy to still get 8 hours of sleep, and as soon as I’m at my computer shortly after 5am, I’m super productive. It also helps to log off around 4pm and still have daylight to catch a run and be showered by 5:30pm.

I’m hoping the next few weeks bring a couple more rounds of golf, more warm weather, lots of miles, hikes,

good laughs with Lynn and Matt, efficient work output, and all of that energy will continue to feed my positive mental attitude.

Thanks to everyone who I asked for advice on staying here longer - the verdict was unanimous that I may as well take advantage of the weather!

Thanks for reading,

Mike