Perhaps my dislike of waiting makes me more reflective on the period of Coronavirus suspense ruling our daily lives. I was away on a business ten days ago when my daughter who had recently been travelling in Italy was advised to go to our family doctor and be tested for Coronavirus. She got tested, was told to self-isolate and called me to let me know the news.
There was a flurry of quarantine measures to discuss with her and my son before packing, finally getting a flight and next morning I was home. After quarantine measures were checked and I had a long chat with her from her bedroom doorway, I had time to stop and think.
What was I going to do with all this waiting time for her results? Then it struck me, once the wait for her results were over, however they turned out, there would be more waiting and not just for events that affected my family. It would be waiting for announcements, waiting for restrictions to be implemented and later lifted, waiting for statistics and then waiting for them to change.
Waiting for life to return to normal, whatever that new normal will be.
And then I thought, how am I going to choose to wait? When I look back over these last two, three, four months, will how I waited have as much positive impact as it could? My daughter’s results came back clear and then I honed the three principles of my waiting strategy.
Opinions are running strongly as to whether the world is over, or we are over reacting. I haven’t seen any media or heard a view that we are in a Goldilocks situation, where everything is being handled ‘just right’ by every country in the world. Whichever opinion you have about how worried you should or shouldn’t be, there is someone who could have a strong opinion opposite to yours but to which they are equally attached.
Whatever impact the coronavirus is or will have over the next few months, everyone is coping the best way they know how.
At this time, there are so many casual workers dependent on jobs that may soon vanish. I was at the supermarket and noticed an exhausted looking guy stacking shelves. I stopped and thanked him for all his hard work, expressing how grateful the whole community is that they can come to the shops and get most of the items they need. His tired face lit up in a huge smile. Inside, he is just as anxious as the rest of us but still working in a job that means he has contact with many more than fifty people a day.
Today, my corner coffee shop is still open and I am buying a coffee each day, even though I have coffee at home. I’m careful to keep a distance, not touch anything and wave my card so there is no contact but I want to try in my small way to keep businesses going for as long as I can while keeping myself and the community safe.
I have noticed so many other people being more respectful while waiting in queues and smiling at each other in the street. I know there are also widely circulated examples of less than kind behaviour, but as a community we are all facing this situation together.
And a smile and kind word always lift spirits up.
In my earlier article and podcast, ‘How to think about the Coronavirus without losing your mind’, I talked about controlling the information we take in. My third strategy of best coping with this waiting period is to be aware of the quality and type of the information I absorb.
I do a two-minute check on the website of our government owned news channel, ABC in the morning to see if there are any developments overseas that happened while I was asleep. For the rest of the day I don’t check. Then at night, I watch the least dramatic news service and that’s it. Am I tempted to check more often? Hell yes. But I know that won’t help me function positively.
Being aware is more than controlling how much Coronavirus news I choose to absorb. During the day I take time to be grateful for what I have right now. I am aware of other information available on completely different topics that will lift me up and keep me feeling forwards to support family, friends and fellow entrepreneurs.
So, there we are, the three principles of how I aim to win the waiting game we are all experiencing. I was looking for a quote on waiting and this came the closest.
Joyce Meyer wrote that
Patience is not just the ability to wait, it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.
This is not an easy time. And for me, winning the wait is a process I re-start every morning when I wake up. And I keep remembering to be respectful, be kind and be aware as I go about my day.
And the next day, I start all over again.
When I had cancer, I could never connect with the phrase ‘Cancer is a journey not a destination’ because it was a journey I didn’t choose to take. For me , cancer was an experience I hadn’t chosen. None of us have chosen the Coronavirus experience.
All you can choose is how you manage yourself.