COLUMN — A letter to my pre-pandemic self

Published 6:00 am Saturday, October 3, 2020

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Imagine you’re writing a letter to the 2019 version of yourself. It’s something I think about often. What would you say to that person? What tips would you give them? How would you prepare them for what’s to come?

Here is a short letter I have written to 2019 pre-pandemic Alexa. I only wish I could send it to her.

Dear Me,

Hey, congratulations on that new job at The Charlotte Gazette. You’ve become a reporter at quite an interesting time in history. While I won’t get into specifics about what the following year will bring, I’ll give you some words of advice. My first tip is to avoid worrying about having a slow news day. Come 2020, they won’t seem to exist anymore.

If I were you, which I am, I would consider buying and freezing a lot of meat. Stock up on the essentials, like rice, beans, toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and maybe buy some extra board games and puzzle books. You’re going to need them.

If I know you, which I do, you tend to talk yourself out of doing the things you want to do. Don’t do that. Go to every restaurant. Drive to the beach every weekend you can. Go to amusement parks and fairs and festivals and movie theaters. You’ll miss them all come spring.

In college, your absolute favorite thing to do on a Wednesday night was to go to downtown Charlottesville and attend Bachata Night at the art park. You would dance bachata, salsa and merengue until your feet fell off. It’s a long drive from Farmville to Charlottesville for one night of dancing, but if I could go back in time, I would make that drive every week and dance the night away for as long as I could. Social dancing isn’t a thing anymore here in 2020.

For the next couple of months you should make a special effort to regularly visit all of your friends and family. Make sure to hug everybody, and when you think you’ve hugged them too long, squeeze them a little tighter. Hugs aren’t happening much these days.

It’s never been so important to keep yourself in tip-top shape. You need to increase the hours spent in the gym. On second thought, maybe get used to working out at home. You should probably take some sort of multivitamin and do your best to build up that immune system.

A part of me is a little tempted to tell you what to do with your investments. I’m not sure about the legalities of giving financial tips to your past self, so all I’ll tell you is that video conferencing, cleaning products and food delivery will all be good areas to watch.

You’re probably asking yourself, “Oh my gosh, Alexa, what in the world is going to happen in 2020?”

I know it’s scary to not know what the future may bring, but you’re going to have to get used to that. The year of 2020 is going to be a year of staring the thing that scares you most right in its face every day. But no matter how frightening looking forward is and no matter how confusing the world gets, focus on what’s important. Take things day by day. You’ve got this.

Take care,

Alexa M.

Alexa Massey is a staff reporter for The Charlotte Gazette and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Alexa.Massey@The