My firm's blog should be filled with posts explaining estate planning, expounding on its importance, and exhorting clients to get it done. And I'm sure I'll get there. But in our country's current state--amid a coronavirus pandemic, with California in a state of emergency--it feels a tad "untoward" (to borrow from Jane Austen) to focus exclusively (or perhaps at all) on boosting my firm's flow of clients. So I'm taking this opportunity to instead express my own thoughts on COVID-19.
But first, some background on my family. I have three wonderful children. Oliver is eleven years old and aspires to study Bird Neurology and live out his life in the countryside where the birding is plentiful and the carbon footprint miniscule. In the meantime, he plays volleyball and takes piano lessons. Francis is my nine-year-old storyteller. He loves writing, has a wicked sense of humor, and practices storytelling not only on paper, but also when recounting how his little sister ended up in tears. He also plays soccer and takes piano (begrudgingly). Alice is six years old and wants to live with me forever, which is fine by me. She recently fell in love with gymnastics and is slated to start piano next week. These kids have a dad (my husband, Rob) who is smart and quirky and wonderful. He works at a company and works out at a gym and tries to golf as much as possible. My kids also have two sets of grandparents.
My parents live in Las Vegas, and Rob's are in Utah. They are all over 70 years old, and there is a chance that at least one of them would not recover from coronavirus. I'll come back to that in a minute.
So my crew of five does a lot in a given week. The kids are at school, at the volleyball club, at the gymnastics gym, at the piano teacher's house, at soccer gatherings and at church. They get haircuts and go to the dentist. They run errands and eat out (with adult supervision, of course). And Rob and I have our own versions of this running around. We are probably in and out of contact with thousands of people each week.
This brings me to social-distancing. The NBA and NHL have suspended their seasons. UC Schools aren't allowing spectators at sporting events. Universities nationwide have cancelled classes. Church meetings and conferences are postponed. And most people around me seem to be rallying for everyone to get on board, to take preventative measures to help slow the spread of coronavirus. I could not agree more.
I am not sure that my own social-distancing will directly protect my parents in Las Vegas or my in-laws in Utah. But hopefully the young mother who lives next-door to my parents will practice social-distancing, too, avoiding contact with thousands of people each week before lying down on a pilates reformer next to my mom. (Don't worry. My mom will not be at pilates for the foreseeable future, but the point still stands.) This disease spreads rapidly, the cases in Italy and the rest of Europe growing exponentially. But I'm optimistic that if we do everything we can within our own little sphere, we can slow it down and protect our grandparents. I just hope everyone is on board. Because the alternative is scary.
I love Brene Brown, who is a professor of touchy-feely things like shame and vulnerability and courage and empathy. She gives a great tip in working through fear, suggesting that when you are feeling scared, you might try replacing the fear with gratitude. So I'll end with my own gratitude experiment.
I am grateful for technology. I am grateful that so many can work remotely and stay updated on CDC recommendations and connect with loved ones, all through the computer screen. I am grateful for my community of conscientious people here in North County San Diego, an area we have fallen in love with. I am grateful for my children and for the goodness they add to the world. And I am grateful for my parents (who I adore beyond words) and for all the grandparents in the world. I am grateful for everyone doing their part to slow the spread of coronavirus and to protect the grandparents of the world. Thank you for doing your part.
PS. If you are bored while practicing social-distancing, you might consider taking care of your estate plan. That, too, can be done entirely through technology. Give the firm a call or send me an email today. I am happy to help.