Monday was a lovely day. The sun rays were still trying to keep up the impression of summer, the dog was chilling peacefully on the sofa after a long morning walk and I was filling up my calendar for the upcoming weeks with different catch ups, workouts and trips. And of course, I deployed this blog with the first post and was already thinking about what to write about next. Little did I know at the time that those last days of summer will not be for me to witness, the dog will have no choice but to chill and deal with his boredom and that all I planned will have to wait, at least for 10 days. I also had no idea that the next post would have the C word in its title.
I’m sure it sounds familiar to you, assuming you also saw the two red lines on a Covid19 test at some point. If you didn’t - my darling, take my advice and don’t believe, like I started to, that you are one of the few immune people. The fact that you never got it does not mean it won’t get you one day, even if you wear your mask in public transport and wash your hands after groceries.
White rectangular box overruling the life
First thoughts? Nooo, no, no. The test must be wrong. After a second though I realise that for half of the night I was shaking to the point where my teeth were chattering and that every muscle in my body hurts. There comes the initial acceptance.
First feelings? Frustration. First at myself because instead of listening to my body the day before I put at risk some of my closest people, because I could have skipped going to that place where I might have gotten it, because I kind of forgot that covid is still out there, and it will stay out there. But what’s done is done, you cannot undo it, you can just learn from it for the future. Ok. However the frustration is still there - frustration that my plans got cancelled in a split second and that I will not really do things for the next couple of days.
When you read it now, even when I read it now myself it sounds so silly - next couple of days. What does it matter, Zuz? It’s just a few days, you will get back on track quickly after! The thing is, in the moment of looking at the two red lines on the test, those couple of days seem like a lifetime. Why? Because the decision does not come from me, it was thrown upon me without allowing me to have a say in this matter. It was thrown on me by that little white plastic box which has a magic power to overrule your daily course of life. Can you feel that frustration now?
If you think about it, how often things like that happen? Be it a cancelled flight, shortage of water in your flat, your amazing project being dropped at the last moment at work, lack of any response after a date? When we realise something is not going to go according to our plan we somehow lose our sanity for a moment. We lose the long term thinking, we lose the grasp of our priorities.
Hey, but that project was my priority!!!
Of course it was. It was a priority for the next two weeks, maybe even some months. But then another project will come - will you still think about that one as the unique, special one without which nothing else matters?
Forget the project, I needed that holiday. I’m completely exhausted and now everything went to hell!
I know. You are tired from work and have to rest to recharge your batteries. Maybe instead you can rent a car and spend a few days in nature outside of your city? Maybe instead you can remember each day to work a bit less not to drive yourself to this point?
We rush and do so much everyday. We have our short term priorities and quickly set newer and more challenging goals quickly forgetting about the past ones. We hear and see everyone else doing and achieving so much. So then when something comes crashing down due to reasons beyond our control we simply cannot handle it.
Allowing yourself to slow down
Now, do not treat it as advice of any sort. Everyone is different and has a unique way of coping, so you can rather treat it as food for thought.
What helps me to deal with situations that are out of my control is to take that control over and make it my own decision - decision to slow down, let go and have more gratitude. As long as I don’t give myself the permission to be accepting of whatever has happened, I will be going crazy.
Easy to say, right? Giving yourself permission.
Truth is, it’s damn difficult. But in my case it comes from practice. Dropping a box of eggs in the shop with 20 people around giving me The Look, having multi million projects blocked at one of my previous jobs, being denied a visa to Australia in the last moment after two years of planning the Big Move, buying a car which kept on breaking and costing us a fortune at the workshop, and many many more.
Over time I started to learn that none of this is the end of the world. Those things did not go as planned and even more things in the future will seem like a complete disaster, I can't avoid that. I started noticing that actually there is something good about each situation. It will make you think outside of the box, maybe make you change your job, appreciate what you have despite all those add-ons. It will make you more present when shopping so that you don’t slip on the wet floor. It will teach you to breathe, step by step, in and out. In, and out. If covid symptoms allow, of course.
The moment I slow down I start to think about other things that didn’t go as planned in the past. They were so unbelievably important at that time! But now? I realise they wouldn’t really make as big a difference as I believed they would.
The moment I slow down I realise how rushed everything was. Faster, stronger, better, more! Not really noticing the time passing, living from one weekend to another.
The moment I slow down I can appreciate more - the health, the relationship I have, the ability to bike around the city every day, a chance to hop in the camper van and drive to a nearby lake, the chance to call my family at any moment. You know, all the simple stuff. Simple, yet so fundamental. The real Priorities.
…and then another project comes, another trip is being planned and I start rushing and overdoing again. But that’s why things like covid happen to remind you once more. And whenever another wall will suddenly appear in front of me I will know it’s a reminder.
Slow down Zuz.