The Difference Between Space & Distance

You know all those emails you’re getting? Those communications from your favorite brands reassuring you about what they are doing during these super strange times – I write those.

So I just spent a week of home-based work staying calm and focused so I could channel that vibe into what I’m telling customers. This weekend, I’m so glad to take a break from talking about adjusted business hours, digital banking options, and “stay tuned for updates.” As you all know, the story is changing, not just by the day, but by the hour. It’s exhausting to keep up, isn’t it?

But all this week I’ve had a sidebar of thoughts running through my head – things that “Real Meesh” has been wanting to say versus “Professional Michelle.” Thank God for Saturday so I get this chance to say them…

It’s quite ironic that the last time I wrote for this blog, I preached about the importance of disaster preparedness. That was more than a month ago when my primary concern was a 24-hour boil water alert here in our hometown: I Want to Talk About Water. In this entry, I talked about how I was embarking on a plan to plan ahead. I had a list. I had goals. What I lacked was action. I didn’t follow through with the preparing.

Now here we are, only 6 weeks later, and we’re all living in a state of disaster or something as close to that as most of us have gotten in our lifetime. There was very little time to prepare for life as we know it right now. There is very little time to process what’s happening before the next thing happens. As the older half of The Precious Pair explained the other day through tears, “It doesn’t feel real to me.” Join the club, my dear.

I’m not here to share any hygiene tips. I’m quite confident that’s been well-covered by now. If you don’t know you should be washing your wands while singing the ABCs, well then, you must be living in a deep, dark hole. And, if so, you might want to stay down there – but only if the hole is at least 6-feet deep.

The tips I’d rather share in this Coronavirus blog – that now joins the massive reams of commentary on the subject – are the random thoughts in my head about all of it, probably of no practical use to anyone at all. Yet if my ideas can bring levity or hope or even a crooked half-smile to anyone feeling downtrodden, disappointed, desperate, depressed, or any other not-so-great mood at the moment, then I will have accomplished what I’m setting out to do…

Now, remember, I am NOT your Mom, even though some of this will likely come out sounding quite motherly:

Wait with great anticipation for the things you love — whether it’s baseball season, the Kentucky Derby, or just hanging out with a group of your favorite people on a Saturday night. If you’ve had events postponed, feel glad and grateful for that. That means your good time is coming. I feel the most right now for folks and especially kids who are getting their lives cancelled. The school days. The Prom. The weddings. Potentially, the graduations. That’s the heart-wrenching stuff.

As for me, I have an awesome Porch Party Season lined up for Summer/Fall 2020, and I hope you will join me!

Hug your household. The other day, I made the mistake of saying to my oldest in front of my youngest “If one of us gets it, all 3 of us will.” That sent the soon-to-be 11-year old into a panicked frenzy. Once I talked her off the ledge, she understood. And it helped that I could make the case for hugging – “This is why we can keep hugging each other all we want! There’s no limit.” The younger one is my hugger. But it’s funny how the older one wants a lot more of them these days herself. Don’t have any huggers in your house? Hug yourself. It’s okay. Do it when nobody’s looking.

Breathe like a yogi. I did start yoga this year. It was one of my goals early on, and I was doing it fairly consistently until the studio closed, of course. But I haven’t given up on the practice of intentional deep breathing. Whenever someone in our house is facing a meltdown, I point her straight to her own breath. I remind myself to do the same, all day, every day. Especially if I’m outside. Nothing feels better than getting that outdoor air into your indoor lungs.

Make some homemade soup. Yesterday, on a Zoom meet-up, my friend Julie mentioned some soup she had made. Sausage, veggies, beans. I couldn’t stop thinking about how good that sounded, so I copy-catted her soup and made a huge pot of my own today. Pretty sure I poured my soul into that steaming pot of soup. So I recommend you go make something, too. Soup. Lasagna. Cookies. Whatever sounds good to you, but try to make it from scratch with the extra groceries you’re likely to have on hand. There’s something therapeutic about crafting food slowly and thoughtfully; then sitting down and slurping it up.

Spring is never cancelled. Did you realize the First Day of Spring was March 19? I am taking solace in the hope that Spring always provides. The bulbs pushing up through the soil. The birds chirping cluelessly yet reassuringly. The lucky ladybugs showing up in my kitchen most days. That weird spring smell in the air – a fresh blend of rain and flowers and mud. These are a few of my favorite things right now. Mostly because they are not digital.

My thoughts on social distancing. I believe in it. I’m doing it. I’m guessing most of you are, too. But as the Word Nerd that I am, I wish they had chosen to call it something else…Why?

A few weeks ago, before we all began living this way, I had a conversation with someone I care about very much about the difference between giving someone their space and allowing someone to become distant. They are vastly different scenarios, yet there’s a fine line between the two. From an emotional standpoint and in any type of relationship – romances, families, and friendships — space is a good thing whereas distance is not.

Social spacing would have been the better label for what we’re practicing right now. No one wants to create distance between themselves and their loved ones, especially at a time like this. So, yes, thank goodness for technology – texting, phone calls, FaceTiming, Zoom meetings, Marco Polo video bits, and more. At the same time we’re grateful for it, I sense we’re all equally tired of tech, too. The constant nature of it takes a toll. (I say as I type on my laptop.)

The person I mentioned above has a birthday coming up on Tuesday. What a crappy time to have a birthday. You can’t go out to dinner, people aren’t able to shop much for your gifts, and the grocery might be out of your favorite things. Heck, if there’s suddenly a state or federal lockdown, you might even get stuck at home on your birthday.

In fact, several of my loved ones have birthdays coming up – my mother turns 80 on April Fool’s Day, and my girls and I had to cancel our trip to Florida to celebrate with her. On April 6, the younger half of The Precious Pair turns 11. I had planned to take her out to do several fun things that day. On April 26, my stepmother will celebrate her birthday, and my girls and I had to cancel our trip to Arizona to celebrate Easter with her and my dad.

I stand by what I said above. The things and people we love are worth waiting for. The hardest part is not knowing how long the wait might be. I hope to develop new virtues – maybe even Patience – as positive side effects of this crazy quarantine. What do you hope to get out of it, once we get out of it?

“Stay tuned for updates,”


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