The Happiness Connection  

The pain of waiting

When I was in my 40s, I decided to do the London MoonWalk.

This is a fundraising event for breast cancer research. You power walk the London marathon route at night in a decorated bra.

I entered with my best friend. I’m not sure how she persuaded me to take part. It isn’t my usual choice of activity. But before I knew it, I was collecting sponsors and training to walk 26.2 miles, in as short a time as possible.

It was the summer solstice. The night was warm and clear, and the sunrise was spectacular. As we reached the half-way point, I began to run out of energy. Despite my moans and pleas, Louise kept us moving at a reasonable pace.

I can remember the blessed relief I felt when we reached a sign that said there were only two miles to go. I couldn’t wait to stop moving.

Before long, I spotted another sign in the distance. I was ecstatic. I assumed it meant we were approaching the final mile.

My hopes were dashed when I got close enough to read it. 1.9 miles to go. How could that be?

Those last two miles were the longest two miles of my life. Whose idea was it to post a sign every tenth of a mile?

Has this ever happened to you? Have you worked toward a goal, only to find that as you near the end, time switches into super slow motion?

I suspect this may happen as vaccines for COVID-19 get approved.

I’m more than ready for this pandemic experience to end, and I know I’m not alone. Hope is on the horizon, but the process of immunizing an entire nation isn’t going to be quick.

I haven’t been able to find a projected start date in Canada, but general opinion seems to suggest that the task will be completed by September. That’s another nine months away.

Bidding the pandemic adieu isn’t the only thing I get impatient about. I know that by the end of February, I’ll be aching for spring and warm weather.

This is something I endure every year. I’m tired of winter before it’s ready to exit the Okanagan. I relive the end of the MoonWalk annually. I know I’m a day closer to spring, but it still seems an agonizingly long way off.

I’ve decided this year, rather than enduring the experience of waiting, I’m going to be proactive. I’ve found some things that may help.

Pay attention to something other than reaching the end

At the end of the MoonWalk, all my attention was focused on looking for the next sign. That’s all I thought about for 19 signs.

Research suggests I would have been better off thinking about something totally unrelated and letting the distance pass without notice. Perhaps a game of I Spy or reliving shared memories would have been more useful.

Rather than counting the sleeps until you’re free from the pandemic, put it to the back of your mind and focus on something else. Find a project.

Your house may be totally updated and spotlessly clean while you looked for ways to fill time over the past ten months, but I guarantee there’s something more for you to work on or toward. Get creative.

Think about what you want rather than what you don’t want

This is a variation on the glass-half-full scenario. Instead of focusing on not wanting to be locked down, focus on what you’ll do when you’re free to come and go as you please.

It’s a subtle variation, but one that can make a big difference. Live in possibility rather than limitation.

Accept the things you cannot change

Like the Serenity Prayer advises, have the wisdom to know the difference between what you can change and what you can’t.

Speeding up the process of vaccinating the nation is beyond your control, so let it go. It’s going to happen in its own time.

Listen to music

Ever wonder why companies give you music to listen to when they put you on hold? Studies show that listening to music can reduce the stress of waiting.

Make a pandemic playlist. When you start to feel frustrated or impatient, turn to your tunes. Feel free to dance and sing along.

Enjoy what is

This is something my friend, Ross Freake, frequently says.

Waiting impatiently for something to happen means you’re probably forgetting to find pleasure in what’s going on right now. Take time to both accept and appreciate.

If awareness is the first step to transformation, then maybe the second is to decide what to do with that knowledge.

In the past, I’ve chosen to endure the wait. I’ve got through it, but it wasn’t much fun. Perhaps this year it’s time to take a different approach.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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