Around the World - San Diego, California

Hello - John and Susan here from sunny San Diego.

When we say that we live in California you probably envision endless beaches, surfers with long hair, the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge and the inviting ocean. As a Californian transplants - originally from Sweden - we can report that it’s all true...but not for the past ten weeks!

As of today, May 22, 2020 we are entering the 62nd day of lockdown – and it stinks. Schools are closed, restaurants are closed, parks have until very recently been closed, masks and other security measures are mandatory in public. More than this though, is the sense of pervading paranoia. We’ve witnessed even the friendliest neighbours cross the road to avoid one another when out on walks.

Did I mention schools are closed? Yes, for the past ten weeks parents all over the USA have been home-schooling children of different ages and relying on a steady stream of coffee to keep it all together. Our family included.

As a family with two full-time working parents and mischievous six-year old twin boys, it’s been difficult. The guilt every working parent faces for not giving enough attention to their kids, to their jobs, to their themselves... has been a challenge. And it recently became apparent that the lockdown was finally starting to have an impact on our boys too.

After ten weeks of only seeing their teachers and Kindergarten classmates via Zoom meetings, their usually sunny dispositions started fading. "We're bored" became the standard answer and we found them drawn more and more to watching screens. As a family, we limit screen time for the kids and it became truly hard to maintain the normal rules - particularly as our boys were left to entertain themselves for hours on end while we were locked down in work meetings - rushing out to feed them snacks in between.

So, this week we finally made a decision to hire someone to come to our house between 9am - 3pm to do schoolwork with them. To come up with activities with them, jump on the trampoline with them and take them on bike rides or hikes in the canyons of San Diego. For us, risk of exposure became the price we had to pay for our family's mental health. We all reached breaking point - the constant pressure of being locked in with the same three people for weeks on end - and no end in sight...

We are in the fortunate position that we could tap our network and hire Ms Lily, who has come into our safe little bubble and brought the joy back.

As a species we need human interaction. We are social beings. Isolation is not a long-term solution and, hailing from Sweden where they're expecting 'herd immunity' somewhere over the summer, we are of the mindset that the most vulnerable should be sheltered, while those deemed to be in a lesser risk category should be cautious, but active.

Otherwise the mental health price we will have to pay will outweigh even the economic one caused by this pandemic.

So, from sunny San Diego, our advice to others is to do what works best for your family. Weigh the pros and cons of everything and make decisions that takes care of you - and those around you. We wear masks when we go out and always have hand sanitiser on standby. But for us, slowly, life is returning to the new normal. Whatever that may look like.

John & Susan Sjolund
San Diego, CA USA

John is a multi-national entrepreneur who leads and develops companies to make products that customers love. Medical devices and digital health are his primary interest to make the lives of millions safer, healthier, and more balanced - using data to help enable better decisions. He has proven expertise in founding and leading global businesses in diverse industry verticals. He founded and led Timesulin as CEO until its sale to Bigfoot Biomedical in 2017, developed a product used by hundreds of thousands of people with insulin-requiring diabetes across +40 countries, is one of the first people in the world to build an open-source automated insulin delivery system, named inventor on +30 patents and recognised as Young Person of the Year in Sweden. John currently saves lives as Senior Vice President of Product and Strategy at Biolinq.