As the city where I live goes back into lockdown, I'm more aware than ever how our lives are on hold these days. We're stuck in a bad remake of "Groundhog Day" and this version isn't a comedy. It's no wonder people all over the world are asking themselves, how much longer?
My spirits almost reached the tipping point recently, as new restrictions prevent indoor visits with the family bubble we'd established over the summer and fall - one of our daughters, her husband and our sweet two-year-old granddaughter. Even brief outdoor visits are tightened now, with mask wearing and apart and yes, it's winter here and cold.
|Our small urban backyard|
The waiting game is on in full force and there's little anyone can do to break the stalemate. Waiting for a vaccine that's both tantalizingly close and frustratingly far off; waiting for numbers to go down so restrictions can be eased; waiting for test results so the precious toddler can go back to daycare and her parents to work. And for me personally, waiting for a word - any word! - on proposal submissions.
But an essay in one of Canada's leading newspapers gave me some comfort over the weekend. Titled "Going the Distance" (by Alex Hutchison in The Globe and Mail, November 21) the essay focuses on studies of marathon runners, their mindset and potential for success when participants don't know the end of a race. In other words, running without a finish line.
A German physiologist coined the term "teleoanticipation" in a study in 1996 to "describe how our knowledge of an eventual endpoint (or telos) influences the entirety of an experience." In other words and loosely quoting Hutchison, if we know where we are in the race, will we perform better or worse? The theory is that if we know how much further we have to go, we can adjust our pace accordingly. Apparently migrating birds instinctively know how much to eat and rest to reach their annual destination. But studies have shown that humans don't work that way if there's no end in sight, and success isn't guaranteed.
Mr. Hutchison connects this research on marathon running to waiting out Covid-19, citing his personal experiences as a writer and parent. This paragraph in his essay resonated especially with me: "If you ask yourself 'Can I keep going?' rather than 'Can I make it to the finish?', you're far more likely to answer in the affirmative." That first question depends on a personal, positive attitude and involves a lot of faith - either faith that's placed in a higher being or faith in the dedication and commitment of scientists and medical people working for all of us, or both. Hutchison himself refers to the principles of Buddhism as he reminds us to "stay in the moment" because "knowing that the end will come is clarifying; counting the hours until it comes...is paralyzing."
So I'm determined not to fret in this waiting game we're all playing and re-focus on my now well-established pandemic routine - taking my current life one day at a time. Meanwhile there are many escape hatches available and reading good books that lift us - like Heartwarming romances - works for me.
Have a Happy and safe Thanksgiving!
"Keep on swimming." We'll eventually get there, and in the meantime, I have your January book to look forward to. Love the cover! Fingers crossed for the proposal.ReplyDelete
Aw thanks Beth! Swimming is a good analogy here. Happy holiday!Delete
I call it Covid fatigue. You think you're just about there and they move the end line. This morning our grocery store was almost totally out of toilet paper again ! I almost started crying in the middle of the store. I know we'll persevere but it seems to be getting harder. Good luck with your proposal! Happy Thanksgiving!ReplyDelete
So true. We seem to be on one of those wheels for hamsters. :) But as long as we stay healthy we can keep on spinning. Happy holiday!Delete
I find being more active helps (and not watching the news). I do a lot more walking alone and trying to write at other times.ReplyDelete
Absolutely Shirley! Walking also offers a chance to daydream, come up with other writing ideas. :) Happy Holiday!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the insights. I'm a walker, too, so I look forward to the time when my mind will come up with all sorts of interesting things. I'll think of you and Shirley when I'm on a trail next time.ReplyDelete
Yes walking is an opportunity not only for story-imagining but also reflecting on friendships, so very important these days. Happy Thanksgiving Virginia!Delete
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I'm like everyone else, tired of it, but I walk, too, and it has saved my soul, I think. Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? But in these days, not so much. Blessings to you, Janice!ReplyDelete
Walking and gardening have been my lifesaver, though the weather right now isn't conducive to either. Thank goodness for treadmills and nature DVDs!!! I keep hoping the generations of 2020 will show themselves as great generations. We've stumbled some, but people still have time to step up and show they have strength, compassion, and determination.ReplyDelete