By Simon Litt, BCom ’19. Photo: Kat Craats.

On this International Day of Friendship, alum Simon Litt, BCom ’19, reflects on how his friendships with fellow Gusties kept him going throughout the pandemic – and how these lifelong bonds grew more than ever in a year where we were all at a distance.

It’s been a weird year. Not seeing the vast majority of our friends and family for long periods of time; having to worry about walking too close to strangers; being locked away in our own little worlds. But even with all that said, I can’t say it was a bad year.

In fact, it was a really great one. Those who know me know how incredibly focused I can be on my professional life. In January 2020 I would have answered the question ‘What do you do for fun?’ with a puzzled expression and a single word: work.

Now, they say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone but in this case, I think it would be more apt to say “you don’t know what you could have until the world flips on its head and normalcy is out the window.” Catchy, right?

Over the last year, I found that the only option to take a break from continuous time inside, alone, working, was to just get out in nature and do anything I could to spend time with friends.

When Dr. Bonnie Henry told us not to go outside, we scheduled movie nights; when we weren’t supposed to go near, we yelled at each other from afar on our hikes; when we were allowed to form a bubble, that bubble looked suspiciously similar to a group of tents. Whatever we were allowed to have, we took with joy.

I don’t mean to be dramatic but without those adventures, the amazing people, and the laughs that transcended the constant barrage of health concerns – I would have lost my mind.

The extreme gift that is the ‘Canadian wilderness’ not only helped to free some worries, but it served to build and strengthen friendships that are going to last a lifetime. Face mask or not.

It’s been a weird year, but I’m thankful everyday that I got to spend it with friends who make me forget to worry for a minute or two, friends that helped me see just how great life can be when you spend it with the people you love.