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Callala Bay

The Art of Patience

What a crazy few weeks it has been. From March feeling like it went for about three years, April flew by and we’re now almost to the middle of the year. I’m feeling displaced and confused, yet also there’s a sense of slowing down coming through me. I’m trying to learn the art of patience.

I write this today as I was meant to be flying to France for three weeks of work at a Grand Slam tennis tournament (my other job as a social media producer). The thought of flying around the world in 24 hours, packed on a plane with hundreds of others, being amongst people from all different nationalities, and all the stories that come with them is no longer what it used to be. I imagine that if I travel internationally again, it will look very different.

The world is changing as we know it and it’s something we have to accept. No ifs or buts, it’s happening! The last few months have been very challenging for me as I lost control of a lot of aspects of my life; my relationship, my home, my job, my pets. And then COVID came along and I was further displaced from feeling like there was anything normal left in my life.

And while many people out there have tried to convince us that this is the time we should be writing a new book, learning a new language, starting a new business or some other task that may take years to build up, I’m all about taking this as the time to slow down and recharge.

I saw a wonderful quote shared from a friend that “you don’t have to make the most of a global pandemic”. The world is at a standstill and thousands of people are sick or dying, it’s ok not to be working on that project, or burying yourself in stress trying to create a business “just because”.

It’s also given me time to reflect on what “busy” means. How many times have I said that word, especially when someone has asked me how I’ve been? It’s been a default response for so long (and very often, warranted – I have been very busy at times!)

There’s nothing I personally have to be busy about right now. I don’t have anywhere to go (and also, the Government are asking us not to go anywhere!), and I’m enjoying that I don’t have to “keep up appearances” so much.

On the odd occasion I have left for groceries, it’s been an invitation to slow down and be patient. Just last week I was in the long-life milk aisle looking for my Bonsoy (I may be locked down but I will not substitute on my coffee!), and there was an elderly couple looking for the products they needed. They didn’t seem to be in any hurry, and it was a moment to check myself. On any other day, I more than likely would have waited a few seconds, before squeezing my way in to reach what I needed, apologising as I did. Right now, that’s a safety risk. So instead I waited for them to finish. They came to see my behind them and apologised for being in the way, of which I told them that they weren’t. I got what I needed, and sure, it maybe added another 30 seconds to my trip to the supermarket, but it didn’t affect my day at all.

In a world where we are dictated by timetables, meetings, and this need to get things done in a hurry, it’s been a time for reflection for me that it’s ok, things will get done when they get done. The world will not collapse around me if I don’t publish this blog post by 7pm this evening.

And while being on time for things will still be a part of our lives once things return to normal, all I hope is that this will let us take a moment to slow down. To not be in such a rush. To find patience. Not only with others, but with ourselves.