Lockdown feels like it has lasted forever. I even commented today that I barely remembered what a normal life feels like – to which my conversation partner reminded me that I had said during the summer break that I could barely remember what lockdown felt like either! I had to laugh.
But why does it feel that bit harder right now? Is it just all the time we have spent… or is it knowing that the end is near?
Do you often find that things are so much harder just before the end? We are so close to finishing that we are just impatient to get there?
At a recent session with study skills experts Elevate, Year 12s were confronted with this concept as well, and were fore-armed against this attitude in coming up to exams. The example used by Elevate was actually a physical one, and it involved the fastest man in the world… Usain Bolt.
Although incredibly physically gifted, Bolt has also focused on the mind game of running. Most runners see the finish line, and start to slow down just before the get there. The task is nearly done, so the body begins to conserve energy. You might have seen many athletes start to slow down just before the finish line – an exhausted Matthieu Van Der Poel did so in the Paris Rubaix cycling race last week after leading for several hours. His brain got tired, he saw the end, and he began to slow down. Sprinter Sonny Colbrelli took the race by microseconds. How? Well sprinters know that the end is where the hard work begins. This is where they have to battle fatigue and fight it to the finish. They train their bodies to be ready to go faster at the end. This gave him an edge on the exhausted Van Der Poel, and it’s what gives Bolt an additional edge as well – he has managed to train himself out of slowing down as he approaches the finish.
There was much wisdom in here for our Year 12 students, who need to gear up before exams rather than slowing down. They are tired too – especially after two years of remote learning. But now is when they need to keep focused and work harder. It will soon be over – but they need to cross the finish line running rather than slowing down.
Perhaps there is something in this for all of us too in regards to COVID. It’s hard to remain focused after months of lockdown and increasing daily case numbers – but we cannot afford to slow down or slack off before the end. We have to remain focused on the goal of opening up.
Now is not the time to disregard health warnings about masks, gatherings, sanitizing, checking in and more. Now is not the time to ignore our mental and physical health needs because it will all be over soon. Now is the time to remain focused.
We need to acknowledge the temptations to give in and dismiss them. Like Bolt, Colbrelli and our Year 12s, we need to keep our eyes on the metaphorical prize and continue deep levels of care for ourselves and others.