REMINISCING – Covid, Closure, Exhilaration, Growth & the future.

Do you ever reminisce about the scary moments in your life? I’m talking about those moments that might break you down; those that make you feel helpless, even for a brief period. Or do you just lock them inside a box with massive locks, hidden away in the deep valleys of your brain; untouched; unreachable? Perhaps you try not to think about them and move on, only looking forward into the future. Perhaps. The latter can be a survival mechanism that can work successfully and allowing you to march forward. It works for some people. For me, it’s the opposite. I take the former path. I reflect on those scary moments and analyze the details. I study and learn the survival strategies that helped me. Reflecting on the past allows me to see the future with a different lens; a different perspective. “Remember how you handled that situation…remember how you survived that ordeal?” are the types of questions that I ask myself. I reminisce. It puts things in perspective, calms me down, and ultimately empowers me. Suddenly, the new problems don’t seem as scary. They seem more manageable. This has been my approach from childhood. It’s nothing special, but it works for me. It’s how I manage to deal with the situations and stress, overcome them, move on, learn, improve, and face new challenges.

In fact, I’ve been doing it like this for so long, that ironically, I actually embrace such scary moments, in a weird way. I think I might actually like them. It’s hard to explain. I figure, instead of letting these moments get the best of you, you take them in and let them push you to your limits. It’s exhilarating, in a peculiar way, to feel your momentary thresholds. Ultimately, once you’ve dealt with the situation, you’ve become stronger. These are the moments that actually define us and make us stronger. That’s something to look forward to, isn’t it? This wouldn’t work if you keep those scary moments inside your locked boxes. You need to reminisce. It works. Don’t be afraid. Trust me.

I had one of these moments in March of 2020. COVID hit us in March. The clinic was just 2 years old. We were forced to shut it down. I wasn’t sure if we would open again. It was scary. It was one of those moments for me. We closed on March 18th. It was a Wednesday. I set the alarm in the evening. I went home and decided not to think about it too much. I actually had a very good sleep that night. Thursday morning, I woke up at 11am. I went next door and ordered a breakfast with my oat milk latte. I decided that I will not think about the situation until the following Monday; a forced break. It kind of felt good. I rested. Monday morning, I woke up and went to the clinic. I opened the door. No one was there. Empty clinic. The clinic had never been this empty, even on the first day of opening. It was a strange feeling. I walked around a little. I looked around. It looked very clean and new, but with empty rooms and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of renovations, equipment, supplies; just sitting empty. I went in the gym and sat down in the middle of the floor for a few minutes, reflecting. COVID was still new and we didn’t have any info. No one knew what was going to happen. I left the gym and went to my room, and sat behind my desk. I was nervous and alarmed. I didn’t know what to do. That day went by quickly and I didn’t get any work done. I was just thinking. Reminiscing. “What do I do from here?… “How do we survive?” … “What about the staff and practitioners?” I felt responsible for them. It was not just me without a job; everyone else was without a job. Then I remembered. I remembered the moments of the two years prior when the doors first opened as a brand new clinic. That was another scary moment. It was nerve-racking. I’d never owned a business. But we took it one day at a time. We survived, and we thrived. We figured it out. I reflected on the late scary nights I was at home figuring out the basics of running a business. That thought empowered me. All of a sudden, I got a boost of new energy. I knew we had to survive; somehow.

The next day I started. Over the course of the next two months, while the clinic was closed, I came to work every single day, six days per week, 8-10 hours per day. I figured I needed 1 day to rest. This was my new job; to open the clinic and bring everyone back to work. Our livelihoods were at stake. My daily work included calling the banks, insurance companies, learning and researching about grants and financial incentives, subsidies, rent relief programs, and new financial strategies. In the meantime, the practitioners were not working. Sadly, I was forced to temporarily lay off most of the admin staff. We kept a couple of people on payroll because there was admin work that needed to be done. We couldn’t shut down completely. There were a ton of emails, phone calls, past billings, operation work, etc. that needed to be completed. I couldn’t do it all myself. I am thankful for all the help that I got. All the systems of the clinic were also running and fully operational. We didn’t know when we would open again, so I couldn’t shut down anything. During the next 2 months, that’s all I did. I had a lot of doubtful moments. I kept going to the past; reminiscing. It helped.

The financial part was the worst. I couldn’t qualify for many of the programs because my business was still new (ironic that a young growing business wouldn’t quality for financial incentives while a more mature and thriving business can. The programs and banks only look at your numbers from the COVID year relative to the year prior. If your numbers were worst off, then you would qualify. Our numbers right up to the closure were better than the year before; hence the non-qualification for some programs. Sucked). I had to use all of personal financial resources to inject back into the clinic. It was not enough. I borrowed a lot of money from my family and friends. I was lucky I had people that could help me financially, even during COVID. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them. If I didn’t have them who knows what I would’ve done. Maybe I couldn’t open the clinic. I’m forever thankful and indebted.

Finally, after 2.5 months, we opened our doors again, with new updated protocols and procedures. It felt good to be back. I was super lucky. All of the staff and practitioners came back, without exception. I am proud and grateful for that. I know many businesses struggled to get all of their staff back. Everyone at our clinic was enthusiastic to come back to work. Collectively, we built back up again. We reached out to patients. They came back. It took 4-5 months to get back to regular flow again. Business was tight and hard. But we survived, somehow. Thanks to our friends, families, patients, and community for the support. We needed everyone’s support.

Towards the end of 2020, we were back and running again. Our numbers during Q4 of 2020 were even better than the year before (again we didn’t quality for some government incentives and relief programs. This sucked). But it is what it is.

Fast forward, 2021 has been amazing. We’ve grown even more. In 2021 we’ve added 3 new practitioners and 2 new staff. We lost a couple of amazing practitioners because they moved away; two of the ORIGINALS since the beginning. We miss them. I’m sad about that. But we were privileged to have them with us. They have already set a foundation for the culture of the clinic, which will be everlasting. This year, I couldn’t have asked for a better year. Our clinic is the busiest it has ever been. We are continually growing and building a name and brand in the community. 2022 is just around the corner and there are some other plans in motion. I’m very excited for these changes. For one thing, we will be adding 3-5 more staff and practitioners to join the team. I am also thinking of some expansion ideas for the clinic. In addition, I’m working on some awesome community involvement ideas, which will be announced soon. I am super excited. Could I have foreseen this at the beginning of 2020 when we closed our doors? Maybe not. Regardless, I won’t forget those lonely moments in the clinic trying to figure things out. I won’t hide them up inside that locked box. They tested my limits, which ultimately have made me stronger. I feel better because of it. I will learn from those experiences and keep the memories at the surface to reflect upon again, if need be. For the next moment(s), I will reminisce.