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What's Family Got to Do With It? Everything.

How COVID has set some priorities straight.

Key points

  • COVID has forced us to reframe our priorities.
  • The isolation of the last few years has taken a toll on everyone. We need those hugs.
  • Zoom, and all other forms of internet interaction, pale in comparison to spending real time with family and friends.
Carrie Knowles
It's all about family.
Source: Carrie Knowles

If COVID has taught me anything, it’s that family matters… the most.

Who or what is family?

That is for you to decide. For me, it’s my husband, our children, their spouses, our grandchildren, and my siblings. It’s also a very few close friends who have been, well, family. Your family will be different. It might be your biological family or just a close-knit group of friends who have always been there for you through thick and thin. That’s family.

The isolation of COVID during the last nearly three years has kept families of all types apart. Holidays, birthdays, weddings, graduations, funerals, new babies, laughter, comfort, and tears were all long-distance affairs. We zoomed, but we didn’t hug. We shared, but we didn’t touch.

It’s been frustrating and often lonely.

Long before COVID, we told our children that at some point we would move closer to them to both support them as they raise their children and to have their support as we age.

We’ve hit that point.

COVID, like seasonal hay fever, flu, and the common cold, is here to stay and we need to learn to both manage it and deal with it. How we have chosen to deal with it is to move closer to our children and our grandchildren. I want those hugs.

We are not alone.

Good friends who always swore they wouldn’t sell their homes and move to be near their children are now making plans to pull up sticks and do just that.

The old "location, location, location" mantra of real estate is more now than just the right address; it’s that comfort zone close to those you love where you can be better prepared for the next wave of a pandemic or whatever else comes along to disrupt our lives and keep us apart.

COVID, you old rascal, you’ve made selling, uprooting, and finding a new home close to family just a wee bit more complicated than it has been in the past. Travel is complicated, as is touring a potential property to buy in person. There’s that tricky bit about whether you should wear a mask or do a COVID test before and after meeting with a potential seller or agent. There’s also that awkward moment of asking before you enter whether folks have been vaccinated. When asked, almost everyone says yes… but have they? Bottom line: Touring a property in person takes a major leap of faith.

You can, of course, forgo the in-person tour. The virtual world of the internet and Zoom has been a boon for many things, like talking to grandchildren and working from home, but it has played havoc with trying to find a home. It’s not that there aren’t homes to be found using any number of online real estate venues as well as eager real estate firms listing their “coming soon” offerings online for you to peruse, but there’s a catch. I believe it’s called a fisheye camera lens.

The idea that the camera doesn’t lie… ha! Just click through Zillow and you’ll see gracious rooms, floods of sunlight, and a spark of glamour that dazzles and attracts then magically fades when you walk through the door to see for yourself.

We recently drove five hours to DC to see a property we fell in love with online. It looked perfect… until we walked into the condo and saw a rather ho-hum cramped living room, a barely adequate dining area, and two tiny bedrooms that were built for a single bed and chair or a wall-to-wall queen size bed with no room for a dresser or a nightstand.

The experience made me realize that for my next official author photo, I’m hiring a crackerjack real estate photographer. I can’t wait to look taller, thinner, more gracious, and more glamorous than I am in real life.

Real life. That’s what COVID stole from us. Zoom is a great invention, but it is a false one. It is not the same as a hug or a twirl around the dance floor at your cousin’s wedding. It is also not nearly as satisfying as having a cup of tea with a friend.

Why? Because the internet is not a real-life connection… especially if you are in a crowded Zoom-room with your mic muted.

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