Stop and Pause

“Don’t worry about the future… the real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindsides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday” Mary Schmich, from Wear Suncreen.

A mist the Corona virus and lockdown the world has been forced to stop and pause. A time for reflection. It has mostly been a busy few weeks, looking at our business and seeing where next to go. But it has been a time to stop and pause and think back one year. My dad died on Freedom day last year. My world as I knew it at the time stopped. It carried on but differently. The changes I made were subtle but I felt them. I remember at the time knowing his time was coming, not sure when or how it would come, hoping it wouldn’t. I scrambled around to fit in hundreds of things, and then he died. There was nothing else left to say or do.

And so Covid -19 hit. Lockdown was announced. I remember the week before lockdown when social distancing was announced. We knew it was coming, and then when announced it was so final, and then we knew the next phase. We speculated, rushed around and then Friday morning on 27 March we woke up and there was calm. No more rushing, last minute runs outside, quick pop to the shops. It just was.

And so as we move into the last week of lock down at stage 5, and prepare for a new reality come 1 May. I reflect on the last few weeks and the last year. What have I learnt.

  1. Sometime things are beyond our control: We can fight and wish it wasn’t so, but sometime it just is.
  2. We will be changed: At the moment my Dad died all the things I had been trying to sort out, now no longer mattered. I felt different about the world, I slowed down, appreciated family time, enjoyed the support. Somehow post lockdown things will be different. Our businesses will change, we can see that happen now.
  3. We will move on: But we will have new glasses.Our outlook will be different. So many systems need an overhaul- healthcare (public and private sector), education, housing, travel. We will bring in and accept these changes, some slower and some faster.
  4. Time to stop and pause is important: We don’t have to wait for the big moments to stop. I have said it before but a yoga retreat last September was the perfect break, but having wanted to do another one in January, I couldn’t find the time. Life was already filled with goals and demands. Some I was more enrolled in than others, and yet I struggled to make a decision on what I wanted. And then it was lockdown and the decision was made.
  5. My business is vulnerable: If face to face contact is not permitted then we need to explore options going forward. Telehealth is an option, and we are exploring this and other options. But in a world that is constantly changing we need to be open to those changes.
  6. I am happy being at home: I spend most days waking up and driving somewhere to meet friends to go for a run, a yoga class, head to work, get home exhausted, do more work and head to bed. Weekends were busy with either being away, or races, or work. With lockdown the days are busy with planning and reorganising, but not as frenetic. There is no rushing around, and I spend time at home. There is a gift and peace in that.
  7. We are adaptable: If you had told me I would find myself running around my garden and doing workouts online I wouldn’t have believed it. If you had told me I would need to change my business model because of a virus I wouldn’t have believed it, and yet here we are, adapting to the changes that are needed.
  8. Routine is important: Have a structure to my day is important. I have tried to keep a bit of the structure I had pre-lockdown. I have run when I would have run, done online yoga at the same time ( have had the luxury of a few extra classes). But fitting exercise in is as important now as it was 4 weeks ago, and has stayed part of my routine.
  9. Friends and family are important: I felt this when my Dad died. I have thought back to that time. If my Dad had died now, my brother would have been stuck in New York with no chance of being here. How much worse now would that have been
  10. Be proudly South African: My Dad was proudly South African. Local was lekker. In the last few months pre-Corona there was a sense again people were leaving South Africa. But looking where the world is now, I am proud of how we have handled the situation, both as a country and our leadership. Yes it hasn’t always been perfect, but it has been good. And South Africans have done well.

So as I reflect on Freedom day, I am grateful for friends and family, a roof over my head, food on the table. I am embracing a new reality. Sometimes I want to run and bury my head in the sand, and sometimes I am ready to embrace it. And although lockdown and the consequences of it have challenges ahead, I am stopping and having a pause, and taking a moment to reflect on what has been, what is happening now, and what may be to come.

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