If you need me I will be hiding behind the couch
Right now it is all about mindset. How you think about your current reality is going to be the biggest factor in how you get through it. It's the hard truth. And when I say hard truth I don't mean difficult to hear, I mean difficult to live.
My mom told me when I was in my late teens I should marry a doctor or a pilot. It had nothing to do with status. She told me I needed to live with someone who would be away for long hours. She recognized I needed lots of personal space.
The last time I lived at home with my family of origin was in my early twenties. I had a coffee maker in my bedroom. I would set it up the night before so I didn’t have to go downstairs and be with people first thing in the morning. I wasn't the easiest person to live with. I needed a lot of alone time. I couldn’t handle all that interaction and stimulation right away. I prefer to ease into the day.
Things haven’t changed much in over 30 years. I am writing this in my home office at 7 am. I’ve been up since 5:30 am. I have a teapot and a fine china mug sitting beside me. I’m not ready for conversation (or to hear anyone breathe close by). Only the beverage has changed. I still like wide spaces of alone time in my schedule.
TIP: Nothing communicates I need to be alone better than a closed door.
It is hard when two people are sheltering at home to find space. And for those of you who suddenly find yourselves with children at home 24/7 you must really feel it some days. My hat is off to you.
I have been thinking that perhaps the reason we have stayed married for over thirty years might be linked to the amount of time we spend apart. (It’s okay, my husband reads my newsletter. He will probably agree.)
We are also good at telling each other what we need. With all this togetherness it has become really important to manage our expectations. Most days we do it well. But we have had our moments. Still, I am going to go all President Trump and rate us this way, “We are doing exceptionally well. Even the President of South Korea called to tell me we were doing great. No one is doing this better than us.”
We've made it to the end of ten weeks marked by both physical distancing and not enough personal space. We have no idea when things will change here in Ontario. This week has felt like a setback with the number of cases of Covid-19 going up every day. I’m hoping this is just a blip.
In the midst of the challenges there are good things happening. I’ve launched a new series on Reframe Your Life with Patti Hall. We are interviewing women writers, mostly memoir writers, with a few exceptions. Shelly Paxton, our guest this week is an exception. Her book, Soulbattical is more than a memoir. In Shelley's word, "it is a badass road map to discovering what you really want—and getting it."
Patti and I had so much fun interviewing her. Shelley is a kindred spirit. When I read her book in preparation for the episode I felt like we had come to similar conclusions about how to live a life of purpose and passion. Shelley is also a recovering people-pleaser. We talk about how it shows up in her life in the episode. You’ll find it here or where you listen to your podcasts.
If you need a little space right now, don’t be afraid to take your tea and hide in your closet while you listen to this episode. Desperate times call for desperate measures.