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I’m not a patient person. I never have been.
When I want something, I need to have it now.
In fact, one of my earliest memories is my mom telling me to “be patient.” I remember this vaguely because it was the first time I’d heard and understood what the word “patient” meant. And I don’t recall what I wanted at the time, but whatever it was, I’m sure I wanted it right then and–as every toddler must learn–I had to wait for it.
Twenty-plus years later, I feel much the same way. Toddler me is still very much in control.
“I want it NOW! Why must I wait? Grrr. Waiting for anything is the worst!”
Welp. COVID is here (hopefully not to stay?).
COVID has become an abyss, an in-between phase between the past and the future. The continued social distancing and economic volatility have made this year one we will never forget.
And here I am, living in Oregon, at the moment.
That’s right–George and I fled L.A. opting for a quieter, safer life. And we don’t know when we’ll return home.
I just found out a couple of weeks ago that I’ll be working remotely for the foreseeable future. George is looking for a remote job. Everything has changed. Our lives have completely shifted. What we once knew for certain is gone. We are living in this weird place of trying to plan for the future, yet having to let go.
And let me tell you–COVID has seriously tested my patience. We all long for the good ol’ days, back in B.C. (Before COVID) and are eagerly awaiting for After COVID. But when will that be? When cases are down? When death rates are down? When we have a vaccine? What is After?
I’ve had to come to terms with not planning for After, but to just make it through the During.
And with that, we (I’m talking to myself here too) need to learn to be patient. And for me, patience means being at peace with the current reality. It means having a healthy outlet for my innate restlessness. It means learning to be content with what is.
Long, luxurious walks
COVID has led to a huge uptick in screen time. Gone are the days of in-person hangouts and meetings–it’s all Zoom and FaceTime chats now.
And now that I’m no longer leaving the house as much, my body and mind require stimulation.
So there comes a point in the day, around 6 or 7 PM, that I need to get away from any and all screens. Screen fatigue is ever-present and long walks are my remedy.
Walking is extremely therapeutic and puts me into a meditative state-of-mind. I like to walk without intention and just see where my feet take me.
If you’re a fan of this type of walking, definitely read “The Art of Flaneuring: How to Wander with Intention and Discover a Better Life.” It’s a short read about learning to embrace your inner flaneur–meaning to walk without purpose or direction. For me, flaneuring is a state of meditation. I just focus on the trees, houses, leaves and flowers. If there’s a cool plant I see in a neighbor’s yard, I’ll stop to examine it. Or if the sunset is especially colorful, I’ll stop and enjoy it. Flaneuring is essentially “enjoying the journey not the destination.”
How walking is teaching me patience
I find that having outside time gives my mind time to think, reflect and problem-solve. Walking was a tool Steve Jobs and other great minds have employed to brainstorm ideas.
When I’m feeling antsy restless or irritable, walking quells these negative emotions. It allows me to feel at peace and thus, more patient.
I used to go to the gym every day. I’d lift weights or run on the treadmill. But since quarantine started, I’ve had to learn how to workout at home. Enter, yoga: an accessible, feel-good alternative to the sweaty, smelly gym.
Yoga stretches me out and makes my body (and my mind) feel good. This is crucial for because I feel cooped up super easily.
I’ve recently started using Glo Yoga–an online subscription service with a library of on-demand yoga and pilates classes. There’s a library of instructors and yoga practices, ranging in styles and by length. The website itself is super customizable–when you sign up you take a quick quiz on what you like and what you’re interested in learning. I highly recommend Glo if you’re bored of YouTube yoga.
How Yoga Is Teaching Me Patience
Many yoga practices and classes teach some form of basic breath-awareness. Now that I’ve been doing it more frequently, I’ve been more aware my of breath throughout the day. If there’s a stressor during the day, I notice my heart-rate increasing and my breathing becoming sharp and intense. Awareness of my breathing gives me the power to control it.
And let’s be honest: COVID is a stressful time if you are a human. That’s just a fact. So learning to breathe through my moments of anger, fear and depression help me feel more serene.
Yeah, yeah. I know some of you will roll your eyes at the mere mention of reality TV getting me through COVID–but hear me out.
Reality TV is a form of escapism: It’s dramatic, ridiculous and at times, laughable.
When the world becomes too much, I switch on the TV and gleefully enjoy “trashy”, unserious content from B.C.
If you’re looking for some solid reality TV show recommendations, here are mine: Love Island, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Married at First Sight, Too Hot To Handle and Love Is Blind.
How Reality TV Is Teaching Me Patience
It’s not. It just makes me happy. And it distracts me from the negativity of the world. And that’s okay! (maybe tie it all together? All these things help, but no one thing is going to teach you patience, you need multiple outlets to keep yourself sane?)
To be fair, there is no “right” way to get through COVID. Do what you need to do.