Americans’ quality of life can be significantly impacted by many things. Access to healthcare, financial resources, family life and even weather can impact it. But over the last year one major additional factor seems to be pandemic related. The amount your government restricts where you go, how you do it and who you can do it with.
Death rates from COVID-19 have been fairly consistent across all states with the exception of places in the Northeast like New York and New Jersey. But how states dealt with the pandemic have been quite different. Some like Florida and Missouri never even issued a mask mandate while others like New York and California have instituted major restrictions. The quality-of-life contrasts have been significant.
Brothers Nick and Walt Simion demonstrate the stark differences. They grew up in a small farming community in Preston, Missouri. After college, Walt moved to California where he started a family and built a marriage and family counseling business. Nick moved to the Lake of the Ozarks area where he eventually started a family and a boat rental business. The brothers have been back together over Easter vacation as Walt’s family is visiting from Norwalk, California.
By pandemic standards both brothers fared quite well. Walt says “Our counseling business is booming. I have added two additional therapists to keep up with demand. It is kinda sad really. Kids out of school, parents together all the time has led to minor dysfunction being replaced with full blown crisis. Our calendars are jammed with new and existing clients.”
Nick’s business is booming as well. He says “2020 was our best year ever. Boat utilization is running at 85%. Advanced bookings for this year are running higher than last year. It is kinda sad really. I have a dozen new boats on order but probably will get less half in time to keep up with demand. Our calendars are jammed with new and existing clients.”
Walt’s family has extended their vacation by a couple of weeks as they have enjoyed a “normal life.” “We had forgotten what it was like to grocery shop without masks, dine in at all sorts of restaurants, see a movie and attend Easter church services without limits or masks,” said Walt. “Our teenage boys have become a fixture at the bowling alley every night,” he added.
Walt will not be winning “father of the year” honors from his wife and boys as they must reluctantly return to Norwalk. Walt laments “Although my wife and kids can work and go to school from here, I need to get back to the practice. My boys have half joked that they want my brother to adopt them.” He shakes his head and says, “Unfortunately, it’s time to get back to our world.”
Nick looks up with a slight grin and says, “It sucks to be you brother. It sucks to be you!”
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