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My 1 Year Anniversary with COVID-19

It’s been exactly one year since COVID-19 rudely inserted itself into my life and changed many things for me in the last year and moving forward.

Friday, March 13, 2020 was an infamous day for me personally… a day that I will never forget. I was working as Special Events Manager at The LINE Hotel in downtown Austin. I remember exactly what I was wearing that day (black dress, cardigan, kitten heels) and I had a lot on my to-do list. Emails, phone calls, scheduling tastings… overall it seemed like a normal morning yet, there was a strange, eerie feeling in the air. Earlier that week, SXSW cancelled it’s annual conference and festival due to the (very new) pandemic. Our office was immersed in some chaos and disarray trying to navigate how to deal with all of the big companies and important clients who needed to cancel their SXSW experiences at our hotel. Nonetheless, it still seemed like a normal Friday trying to get work accomplished before the weekend began until…

It was around lunchtime when our Human Resources Manager along with the General Manager of the hotel came into our sales office to have a private conversation with a handful of the sales team- myself being included. Instantly I knew something was wrong. “Are we being fired?” “What did I do??” So many questions were running through my mind. We were sat down in a small conference room and told that because of the virus, the hotel needed to make major adjustments and cut majority of the staff. We were placed on a furlough for at least one month or until the hotel (better yet, the world!) knew more about this ongoing virus. I remember thinking to myself “A month?! What the hell am I supposed to do for the next month on an un-paid, mandatory leave??” I laugh thinking back at that time… I was so naive to the situation. One month has turned into one full year… and things are so different now.

I really enjoyed my job and all of the special people I worked with. It was one of the best sales teams I had the pleasure of working with. It’s too bad my time was cut short with those amazing people but in the last year, I’ve started a new journey for myself. While being in quarantine, I started a small meal prep & delivery business out of my house called Damn.Delicious.ATX. I would prepare meals for families who either didn’t have time to cook, didn’t enjoy cooking, didn’t want to risk going to the grocery store, etc. It gave me a sense of purpose and I love to feed people. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Mitch and I made the bittersweet decision to move from Austin to The Woodlands, TX. Mitch’s family lives in The Woodlands so it’s always a plus being closer to family (especially during these hard times) and we decided it’s best to begin our new catering endeavors in this area. We packed up in January and said goodbye to the cute, little townhome we had been renting for 4 years. It certainly was bittersweet leaving Austin as we both had been there for over 7 years. It’s where he and & met, fell in love, got married, learned so much from different jobs, etc. However, deep down we both knew it was time for a change.

So, I can’t have a business called “Damn.Delicious.ATX” while living in a different city. I changed the name to Meals by Jill Janszen in the meantime as he & I set up our new catering business. I know, it’s a lot of names to keep track of but it’s the best I can do at this point. We found a piece of land to build our dream catering kitchen on (can’t wait for construction to begin!!) and currently working on LLC, taking pictures, creating the website, etc. It’s a lot of work but it’s so fun, exciting and I’m learning sooo much.

All in all, the coronavirus has taught me so much about how precious life is. It’s also taught me a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I am definitely my dad’s daughter (a typical go-getter McCoy) and that I will always continue to push myself- even in uncomfortable situations. Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns during the last year and thanks to Zoom, I was able to communicate with my therapist as often as I needed. I know it’s been hard for so many people out there, and my heart goes out to anyone who has lost someone they know from this virus. It’s scary how quickly our lives can turn upside down. As humans, we are relentless and determined to survive and get through these hard times.

I can finally see some light at the end of this tunnel. I see things slowly getting back to where they were; however, I know things will never be completely the way they were again. And that’s OK. We will take everything we’ve experienced and learned and move forward with it. I’m excited for the future. Excited to see where things are headed and I can only hope and pray that it’s all going up from here.

In the meantime, let’s continue to keep each other safe!

With love and hope,
JJ

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