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Not too long, I stood in church taking in all the expectant smiling faces around me, counting down the seconds and hoping to lean in for a New Year’s Day kiss from my boo thang. It was the end of an entire decade and now we were on the cusp of something new. We collectively dangled off the edge of an unbridled 2019 and held our breaths as we raised our hands, and hearts, to God with expectation, calling for all the good 2020 would hold.

The air was thick with anticipation and anxiety for the uncertain future ahead of us. Sometimes before you meet the good, you must first face the not so good.

It's only March and we had no idea how much “not so good” would hit us so quickly.

We almost went to war with Iran because “Trumpy” was feeling himself just a bit too much. The Australian bush fires ravaged their country. Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester and Ara Zobayan, were killed in a tragic helicopter crash. Katherine Johnson,NASA “computer” and mathematician, passed away at 101 years old. B. Smith, who was a model, restaurateur, TV host and more, passed away due to complications with Alzheimer's. And now, we are amid a worldwide pandemic that is shutting down everything within its reach.

If you live in a metropolitan area or simply in an area that is aiming to get ahead of the infamous coronavirus (COVID-19), nine times out of 10 you will be off for the next two weeks, minimum. Many are filled with stress, not knowing what to do. Parents are livid with the idea of spending indefinite amounts of quality time with the children they birthed. The grocery stores are an empty memory of groceries that once lived there. And apparently, hand-washing and home-washing is a new practice for about two thirds of the population. (If that’s you, you nasty!)

I have always been the silver lining, glass half-full, optimistic type. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware of the implications of the virus and I also have no thought in my mind that this will be the end of humanity as we know it.

But since many of us are scrambling for answers in all of this, here are four survival tips for enduring this plague and managing this (non) oppressive free time:

1. Parents, Talk To Your Kids and Consider Getting To Know Them, Again

I always thought it would be the breakdown of technology that would bring us as a people back together. Turns out it’s the coronavirus.

It’s been utterly remarkable to me the number of parents I’ve heard gasping and clutching their pearls at the idea of spending forced quality time with their own children. You know, the children they chose to create, or slipped up and created (and still chose to keep). Kids grow up so quickly and before you know it, they are no longer longing to be safely tucked in the armpit of their makers. Take this time to reconnect with them.

Back in my day (the late ‘80s and ‘90s) my family would play board games and get tangled together in a gassy game of Twister. Whip out the classics and teach your kids about games that exist outside of an illuminated screen. To be clear, I am aware that all familial situations are not the same. Some parents are still required to work when their children are required to be home. Some will not be able to gain wages during this time off. Some families cannot afford this unexpected shift. While I don't understand first hand, because I'm not a parent going through this, I can make a logical deduction.

On the upside many school systems are providing lesson plans to take home and food stipends that are available throughout the day. Search your local school district for options. Many restaurants are doing the same in making food available. Either way, no judgement. Let's simply make the best of what we're working with.

2. Quarantine and Chill / Maintaining a Community.

While I am fine with the possibility of new sagittarius and capricorn babies entering the world, I am not at all excited about the variation of coronavirus names that will plague us into eternity. I saw someone jokingly saying “Coronita and Coronus” and my body had a visceral reaction. Let’s just agree to not do that, OK?

While I think the baby naming portion should be avoided at all costs, I do think maintaining a sense of community will prove helpful. I won’t go too deeply into the story of Adam and Eve, but at the very base, Eve was created so that Adam would not be lurking “solo dolo” with the animals in Eden. Simply put, we need company.

The coronavirus is still being learned, and the consensus is that if you are to come in contact with an infected person, self-quarantine for 14 days. With the shift in technology this does not mean you need to be totally isolated. Consider group texting or a group video call; quarantine and chill via video. This way, no little Coronitas and Coronuses will even be of concern.

If you are able to be around someone, meet up in a public and well-ventilated space like a park. (I am not a medical practitioner, so use your best judgement here or consult cdc.gov for more information.) All in all, remember, you are not alone — unless you have to be. And if that’s the case, use your resources!

3. Purchase the Necessities, Not the Entire Store

If this is your first time preparing for an emergency and you are ill prepared, let this be a lesson to you. My great uncle Perry used to say, “Always have your bags packed!” This applies to everything from preparing for marriage, relocating to a new home or going on vacation. The point is, get into the habit of being proactive vs. being reactive.

When you head out to the grocery store, pick up a few necessities (water, milk, eggs, meat, veggies, batteries, matches, etc), but do not clear the aisle of everything. Your neighbors need love and sustenance, too. Also consider purchasing a few fun items, like that electric blue polish you saw at CVS or that face mask you have been wanting to try out. Even if it gives you a pimple, two weeks from now it should be gone.

4. Use This Time Wisely

I have complained to the wind for months about needing more time. Welp, now I have plenty. While I will be working from home, there’s still so much available time to work on my projects, from writing a few articles, recording some video and editing them, etc. I never expected a worldwide pandemic to create the space, but hey, since it's upon us, why not make the most of the time it’s availed?

Turns out I didn’t get that kiss on New Year’s Day. (Well, not at church anyway.) We stood there unsure of one another’s hearts. A delayed and loaded embrace after the clock struck 12 midnight was all we could muster up to express the undulating swirl of uncertainty that lapped pools within our bellies. Everyone hugged and a party broke out in the church as we brought in the new year on good vibes and danced, gleefully, to the go-go beats that ricocheted off each wall. Laughter and Harmony rang through the air, mingled with Cool Water and Chanel Number 5.

To be frank, 2020 is looking rather grim right now, but take heart! While we are only in March, there’s still plenty of time to turn this ship around. With elections coming up, let's make sure we are all registered and go out to vote! We still have the return of the hot girl summer ahead of us, and who can forget about birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas? Yes, these are all a distance away, but it’s something to look forward to while we focus on today.

Until we get to tomorrow, keep the words of Beatrice Dixon, founder of The Honey Pot Company, in mind: “The only place is here, and the only time is now.”

Make this moment count.

And another thing — let's pray for Alex Trebek. I mean that. I need him to stay a whole while longer. Wash your hands and be blessed.